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Carl Bro sold to Dutch

FINANCE

THE DUTCH invasion of the UK construction industry is widening to include consultants, with Grontmij buying Carl Bro to create one of Europe's biggest consulting businesses with a turnover of £500 million and 6,200 staff.

A number of Dutch contractors have bought into the UK in recent years, including Volkerwessels and Heijmans, but the sale of Carl Bro for £97 million is one of the first major Dutch moves into consulting.

Grontmij chief executive Sylvo Thijsen said: 'I have followed Carl Bro very closely for the past five years and have been impressed with the turnaround that has been achieved.

'Both from a cultural and a business point of view there is a good fit between our two companies.'

Carl Bro, whose board includes representatives elected by the employees, lost money for four years in a row until 2004. In 2005 it doubled pretax profits to £10.2 million after turning over £188.8 million.

Carl Bro has 700 staff in the UK, with 1,100 employees in Denmark and 830 in Sweden, where the majority shareholder, investment group Bure with a 66.6 per cent stake, is based.

A Danish investment fund, LD Equity, owns 20.5 per cent.

Management owns most of the remaining stock.

In the UK, Carl Bro works on water, transport, environment and building projects.