Contractor announces that it has sold its French engineering division to private equity group PAI Partners as part of restructuring strategy.

Amec has sold its French engineering arm Spie to a private equity group for more than £700m.

Under the deal, announced this morning, PAI Partners will pay Amec £707m for the firm, which specialises in the energy and rail sectors.

Amec Spie has 23,000 staff in about 380 offices across Europe, and last year posted pre-tax profit of £49.7m on turnover of £1.8bn.

Amec chief executive Sir Peter Mason said: "We are extremely pleased to announce this important first step in our strategic restructuring. We are delighted to have secured a timely transaction at a very good price and with a shareholder who will continue to support SPIE's plans to invest in and develop the business".

PAI senior partner Bertrand Meunier, said: 'We are very pleased to have agreed on the terms of the acquisition of AMEC SPIE, a very well positioned company with a strong company spirit, an excellent business model and an outstanding management team. We consider that the company has excellent growth prospects and is a strong platform for acquisitions.'