Amec rebuffed a takeover offer from Australian rival Downer EDI earlier this year because the offer was in shares and not cash.

Downer, a mining and engineering group revealed the bid in its recent annual statement. In it, Downer says it made the offer for Amec after the UK-based construction services company sold Spie, its French subsidiary, in May.

Amec would not comment on the report.

Downer made the offer despite being a significantly smaller firm than Amec. It generates a revenue of £1.8bn, compared with Amec’s £4.9bn.

The bid was an attempt by the Australian group to expand in the UK, Canada and South America.

In Canada, Amec services the oil-sands mining market, while in South America its businesses include construction and mining.

Downer has not ended its search for a significant UK-based acquisition. Stephen Gillies, managing director of Downer EDI, says the company is pursuing a UK road maintenance company. This is rumoured to be Mouchel Parkman, which manages and maintains roads for the Highways Agency and local authorities.

Meanwhile, a segment of Amec is expected to be up for grabs soon. The company is conducting a review of its business and is expected to sell its construction division so it can focus on energy and nuclear services.

The review is being conducted by new chief executive Samir Brikho, who joined Amec last month from energy firm ABB.