Consultant Atkins has sold its US engineering and architecture subsidiary, Atkins Americas Holdings, to a management team for £11m.
Building revealed in June that the management buyout of the subsidiary, formerly known as Benham, was nearing completion.

The sale is a significant loss on the £32.3m the consultant paid for Benham in 1999 but will be useful in reducing interest payments on net debt, which stood at £72m at the end of March.

Atkins chairman Mike Jeffries said: "The architecture and engineering market in the USA continues to be challenging and we have taken this opportunity to reduce the group's debt, dispose of a loss-making business and enable greater focus on our core businesses."

Jeffries said that Keith Clarke, the incoming chief executive who was formerly head of Skanska UK, has done some preliminary work, although his contract does not start until next month.

Jeffries said: "Keith is starting to engage casually, coming into the Epsom headquarters at least one day a week."