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Laing O'Rourke steams in for £30m Oz deal

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LAING O'Rourke has finally sealed a £30 million deal to buy Mowlem's Australian rail and building business from Carillion.

The agreement follows months of wheeling and dealing over the future of Barclay Mowlem, which was originally valued at up to £50 m illion.

Construction News revealed that O'Rourke was the initial favourite but the firm dropped out of the race in May to leave the way clear for rival bidder Bovis Lend Lease. Bovis then went cool on the deal, reigniting O'Rourke's interest in bidding.

Carillion confirmed the sale last week and said in a statement: 'This is in line with our strategy of focusing on core growth businesses.

'Barclay Mowlem was acquired by Carillion as part of its acquisition of Mowlem in February. In 2005, Barclay Mowlem had sales of £380 million and a loss before tax of £16.4 million. Its gross assets at 31 December 2005 were £118 million.

'After disposal costs and retained contract liabilities the sale is unlikely to generate a material profit.'