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Balfour Beatty to grow US operations to same size as UK business

Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler said that the firm’s US operations will evolve to an equivalent size of the UK business.

Balfour Beatty today reported turnover including joint ventures of £5 billion for the first half of 2009, 30 per cent of which comes from the firm’s US arm.

This is up from a 25 per cent share of turnover for the year to 31 December 2008.

Balfour’s turnover is now split 50 per cent from the UK, 30 per cent from the US and the remaining 20 per cent from the rest of the world.

But Mr Tyler expects that split to become 40 per cent UK, 40 per cent US and 20 per cent rest of the world.

He said: “The way in which the business is developing we will end up with an even split in turnover between the UK and US.

“It is a question of evolution, emerging over the next two to three years.

“We have seen considerable development in the US having made some considerable acquisitions a few years ago.”

Balfour’s latest results show a net cash position of £394 million, some of which will be used to fund further acquisitions.

Mr Tyler said: “We will always maintain a conservative balance sheet.

“However we will also continue to look at growth through acquisitions and bringing new businesses into the group - that is not to say we have any particular targets in mind.”

He added: “Taking account of the generality of the business and the breadth of our portfolio we do expect to grow further over the next couple of years.”