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Nedam fattens Ballast up for sale

BALLAST'S Dutch parent company is pumping cash into the UK business to prepare it for sale.

The ailing contractor has been given 'significant' funding to stabilise the business and allow it to operate independently from Ballast Nedam.

The head of Ballast's UK board, Michael Van Galen, said the firm was working with auditor KPMG to put the finishing touches to its accounts.

These will be made public at the end of the month and are expected to show the company returning to profitability after a series of loss-making years culminating in a £33 million plunge into the red last year.

Mr Van Galen said: 'We are close to finalising the restructuring of the business that started last January. Our first priority has been to put the company on a proper footing that allows it to sustain itself. When that happens it should provoke interest in potential buyers' Ballast has had exploratory discussions with a number of firms including German contractor Bilfinger Berger late last year, but Mr Van Galen said a quick sale was not expected.

After reducing the turnover of Ballast's troubled southern division by 75 per cent he said the firm's national contracting, PFI and services capability would be an attractive proposition.

The news came during an extraordinary general meeting of Ballast Nedam shareholders in the Netherlands where the company revealed it had received a bid for its Dutch operations.