Contractor announces £353m rights issue to fund acquisition of US engineer in bid to boost infrastructure business

Balfour Beatty has agreed to buy US engineer Parsons Brinckerhoff for £380m in a bid to gain a firmer footing in the global infrastructure market.

The contractor has also announced a £353m rights issue to help pay for the acquisition of the consultancy giant.

Parsons Brinckerhoff has a global revenue of $2.34bn, 12,500 employees and more than 100 offices.

Balfour Beatty said the purchase would help the firm establish a worldwide professional services business and gain a leading position in American civil infrastructure.

Ian Tyler, chief executive, said: “The acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff represents the realisation of a number of key strategic objectives for Balfour Beatty.

“In particular, we believe it makes us one of the world's major players in professional services, substantially strengthens our US presence and puts Balfour Beatty in an excellent position to take advantage of increased infrastructure spending. It is a key step in becoming a global integrated leader in infrastructure services.”

Keith Hawksworth, chief executive of Parsons Brinckerhoff, added: “We are delighted to be joining the Balfour Beatty Group. We believe there is a clear fit between our two closely-aligned companies. We are very enthusiastic about what we see as the enormous potential that can be realised by working together in the future.”