Spie is to sell its distribution and transmission business after agreeing a deal with Keltbray, Construction News has learned.
CN understands staff at Spie were notified of an imminent deal with Keltbray this week.
Communications to staff at the services provider, relayed to CN, revealed that Spie became aware of Keltbray’s interest in broadening its electrification capabilities while conducting a review of its transmission arm.
Talks subsequently began regarding its sale to Keltbray.
Spie said a deal had now been agreed in principle with the Esher-based firm, but is still subject to commercial checks and consultation.
The completion of the deal would see Spie’s distribution and transmission contracts transfer to Keltbray.
Spie’s transmission arm delivers design, build and refurbishment services on overhead power lines across the UK for utility companies, including Scottish Power.
The business currently employs 160 linesmen.
The sale follows a loss-making 2016 for Spie, with its accounts for the year to 31 December 2016 recording a pre-tax loss of nearly £20m.
Its distribution and transmission business made a pre-tax loss of £3.6m in 2016, following pre-tax profit of £3m in 2015.
Spie bought the business in July 2015 to increase its share of the UK transmission and distribution market.
The business became part of Spie UK’s Industrial Services division following the deal.
Construction News reported last year that directors Steven Nanda and Mike Snee left the company ahead of the 2016 results.
Mr Snee was director of distribution & transmission operations for Spie UK before he exited the firm, while Mr Nanda was managing director of its industrial services division.
The acquisition would see Keltbray add to its rail overhead line electrification capabilities.
Keltbray Aspire, the company’s electrification arm, currently carries out work for Network Rail as part of its multi-billion-pound electrification investment programme.
The Spie deal would be the second high-profile acquisition by Keltbray in recent years after the firm bought Dunne Group following the concrete specialist’s collapse in 2016.
Following the acquisition, Keltbray launched a new reinforced concrete frame businesses, Keltbray Structures.
Keltbray and Spie declined to comment.
Keltbray to buy Spie's transmission arm