After splitting into three and giving up brand, firm is taking its time to find a buyer for remaining QS and project management arm.
Citex is not seeking a quick sale for its remaining QS and project management arm, despite the disposal of its facilities management and Asian businesses last week.

Chief executive Oliver Jones said talks had been held with potential suitors for Citex Project Services, but that there were no plans for an immediate deal.

The group was split into three last week, with its Asian business sold to EC Harris for an undisclosed sum and the facilities management division going to Carillion, along with the Citex brand.

The shake-up was part of a dramatic week for the QS sector, with a restructuring at MDA and Schofield Lothian's acquisition by Accord.

Jones confirmed that there had been talks to sell Citex Project Services. "Discussions have been held, but there are no immediate plans to sell. The guys at the firm have the opportunity to review their options. There is no rush to do anything with it."

Market sources said Citex is looking to sell for about £10m.

The two deals completed last week left Citex's project management and QS arm as a private firm owned by Citex shareholders. These include the management team, Phoenix Equity Partners and Legal & General Ventures. The firm will continue to be headed by managing director Ann Bentley.

The £11.5m Carillion deal for Citex's FM division will mean chief executive Oliver Jones and chief operating officer Steve Parkinson will move over to Carillion with most of the 200 staff. The deal is due to be completed in the next two to three weeks.

There are no immediate plans to sell Citex Project Services

Citex chief executive Oliver Jones

Jones said the Carillion deal was a strategic decision to develop its facilities management operations. He said: "Going into a bigger entity was ideal for us. It has been hard work [doing the deal] but it is nice to be in a position to be clear and open about what we're doing."

Jones said the remaining project services business would be a "focused construction consultancy". He added that, although Carillion has bought the global right to the Citex brand, the project services business can keep the Citex name for up to a year.

The Asian deal, due for completion at the end of September, follows the distribution of a memorandum of sale in March.

The deal creates a 300-strong, £17m business for EC Harris in Asia. The QS said it planned to double this turnover in the next three years. Citex Asia managing director Andy Ritchie will join the EC Harris Asia board as part of the acquisition.

The Citex group was due to post a turnover of £84m for the year to April. Jones said the division of sales was roughly £20m for Asia, £30m for the management services arm and £35m for project services.

Carillion said the acquisition of Citex's FM business would be paid for from the group's cash reserves. The firm will continue to trade under the Citex brand as part of Carillion's FM division.

Carillion's FM arm turned over £609m last year.

QS shake-up