Firm sells 5% stake for £42m

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Balfour Beatty has sold off a chunk of its stake in M25 operator Connect Plus for the third time in two months.

The firm bagged £42m for the 5% stake, which was snapped up by Equitix Investment Management.

The sale is expected to produce a profit of £22m for the contractor, which it will use to pay down borrowings in 2018.

In total, Balfour has now sold 25% of its original 40% holding for a total of £207m, meaning it still has a 15% share in Connect Plus

On 21 December Balfour Beatty announced it had sold a 12.5% stake to private equity firm Dalmore Capital for £103m and a profit of £53m

On the same day it announced it had made a series of conditional arrangements with funds managed by Equitix Investment Management and Dalware that could see an additional 12.5% stake sold at an equivalent price by 13 May 2018.

A week later the firm confirmed it had sold another 7.5% stake to Dalmore Capital for £62m in cash. Profit on the disposal was expected to be around £32m.

Connect Plus was established in 2008 as a consortium with Egis Road Operation and Edge Orbital Holdings, which a year later secured a £6.2bn, 30 year PFI contract from Highways England to upgrade and maintain the M25, key link roads serving central London and the surrounding area, as well as the A282 Dartford to Thurrock River Crossing.

For the year ended 31 December 2016, Balfour’s 5% interest in Connect Plus was valued at £31m and it contributed profit of £3m.

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty chief executive, said: “This transaction again demonstrates the ongoing attractiveness of our infrastructure assets and is in line with our declared intent to maximise value for shareholders.”