Mouchel chief executive Grant Rumbles has admitted he will be leaving the company “with mixed emotions” when it is taken over by Kier later this summer.
The £265m deal, financed through a through a £340m fully underwritten rights issue, was confirmed yesterday.
Mr Rumbles will leave Mouchel once the deal is complete, along with chief finance officer Paul Rayner.
“It’s mixed emotions for me,” he told Construction News. “We have created a very strong business and platform for further growth.
“I’ll be sad to leave but I’m absolutely convinced that the two businesses will be stronger together.”
Mr Rumbles took over as CEO at Mouchel in 2011. At the time, the business had £160m of debt and had seen off takeover bids from Interserve and Costain.
“When I arrived frankly the business was in a desperate position,” he continued.
“We were listed at the time and the share price was 10p, the market capitalisation was about £20m and the business was badly loss-making.
“But one of the reasons I joined was that underneath that, the business was actually very strong.
“We had lots of very good people and clients that valued the work we did every day.”
In 2012, Mouchel was sold to its banks and management team in a pre-pack administration deal that saved the jobs of its 8,000-strong workforce.
It returned to profit in 2013 and bought out Enterprise’s 50 per cent stake in EnterpriseMouchel.
Mr Rumbles confirmed there would be minimal changes to the group’s four operational divisions.
“The expectation is that our four divisions will carry on operating as individual businesses with their [existing] management teams,” he said.
“In the immediate future the plan is very much business as usual.”
Speaking of his own future, he added: “When the deal completes I will step down; one CEO is enough for any business.
“I have made myself available to Kier with any assistance they want going forward.”
Speaking yesterday, Kier chief executive Haydn Mursell said the deal was more about growing the two businesses than saving on costs.
He said the group would be able to further capitalise on the £17bn of committed roads spending, including an £11bn pipeline from Highways England, the government-owned company that replaced the Highways Agency at the start of the month.
Mr Mursell told Construction News: “Highways England has been established and their budget has been set in statute, which has highlighted five years of increasing spend on maintenance and capital works.
“It’s a chunky market and one we’ve been looking at for a long time.”
The combined group will have an order book of £9.3bn as at 31 March 2015, including Kier’s order book of £6.5bn and £2.8bn of orders from Mouchel.