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Balfour Beatty sells Scandinavian rail business

Balfour Beatty has agreed to sell its Scandinavian Rail business to Dutch firm Strukton Rail for around £4m.

The business employs around 400 staff and in 2012 had a turnover of around £100m.

Completion of the sale is expected in January 2014, after the Swedish competition authority gave clearance for it to go ahead.

Although the business also operates in Denmark, the Danish operation is not large enough to require competition clearance to be sold.

It is the latest in a series of sales by the company this year. In August, it sold its FM arm to GDF Suez Energy Services for £150m.

It also sold a 50 per cent stake in Salford Hospital PFI for £22m in July, and a 60 per cent share of Exeter Airport in June.

The Scandinavian move comes after the company announced in March that it planned to sell all of its mainland Europe rail businesses.

The decision followed a strategic review, which concluded maintaining a rail presence on the continent was not consistent the company’s strategy of operating in a number of sectors within a given market. Balfour Beatty’s mainland European operations are almost entirely in rail.

The process began with the sale of the company’s Spanish operation to management in March. It is now in discussion with potential buyers for its German rail business and has started preliminary discussions for its Italian operation.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Andrew McNaughton said: “I am very pleased that we have continued to execute on our stated strategy of disposing of our mainland European rail businesses. We have found a good home for the business, its customers and employees, and we continue to explore similar options for our remaining mainland European businesses.”

The company issued a £50m profit warning for its UK construction business in April, the second in six months, which led to the appointment of Nick Pollard to the chief executive role in the division. This was followed by a leadership reshuffle last month, in response to what the company sees as a continuing shift away from major infrastructure and towards regional work.

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