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Balfour Beatty sells rail plant business to rental firm Vp for £5.5m

Rental business Vp has acquired Balfour Beatty Rail’s trackside rail plant business and assets in a £5.5m deal.

The trackside plant and equipment rental activity of Balfour Beatty Rail operates across the South-east of England.

It will now be integrated into Vp’s specialist rail business, Torrent Trackside.

Balfour Beatty Rail has signed a five-year framework agreement to hire trackside plant and equipment from Vp as part of the deal.

Martin Bullock, managing director for Balfour Beatty Rail, said: “Following a strategic review of the way in which Balfour Beatty Rail procures its small tools, plant and equipment, a decision was taken to sell the trackside plant and equipment business.

“We remain very much committed to UK rail plant market and will continue to provide our customers with a complete range of high quality track geometry, road rail and specialist rail plant services. We look forward to working with Torrent Trackside as a strong supply chain partner for all our trackside plant and equipment hire requirements.”

It is the latest in a series of sales by Balfour Beatty which have seen it scale back its group rail work in Europe.

In March 2013 it announced it would exit from rail in mainland Europe.

The contractor sold its Spanish business that month and then offloaded its Scandinavian rail business for £4m in December. Discussions with buyers for its Italian and German rail businesses are ongoing.

In January 2014 Balfour Beatty confirmed it would not bid to retain its Network Rail track renewal contract that expired in Q1, as it continued to shift its order book from the UK to the US.

Among its UK wins this year in rail was as one of four winners for Network Rail’s £2bn electrification works programme, winning the central framework the firm estimated would be worth £75m.

Balfour Beatty sold its FM arm in August 2013 for £190m.

The company has also been selling PFI assets following a period in which it has suffered profit warnings and made several changes in leadership.

Vp chairman Jeremy Pilkington said: “This transaction further strengthens our business relationship with the Balfour Beatty group and at the same time positions Torrent Trackside as the leading supplier of specialist portable rail equipment and associated services to the UK rail sector.”

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