Balfour getting rid of Heery for $57m after saying division was stopping it bidding jobs across Atlantic

Balfour Beatty is ending a 30 year association with its US project management arm after saying the business was stopping its construction division from winning work.

The firm said it is selling Heery International to property group CBRE for $57m (£42m).

The sale of the Atlanta-headquartered engineering and programme management, architecture and interior design firm is expected to be wrapped up before the end of the year.

Balfour acquired a 50% stake in Heery in 1986 before buying the firm outright four years later.

But Balfour said the company was now becoming a millstone when it came to winning work for its construction business in the US.

It said: “In certain US markets, however, acting as Programme Manager on a contract precludes a company from bidding as General Contractor due to perceived conflicts of interest. The sale of Heery removes this constraint from the Group’s US Buildings operation.”

It said the firm would still look to team up with Heery, which was founded in 1952, for work on the other side of the Atlantic.

Balfour chief executive Leo Quinn said: “We continue to focus and strengthen the group in our chosen markets.

“This transaction is another example of maximising shareholder value at the appropriate time and value, while improving our strategic position.”

Heery employs 535 staff across 19 US offices, specialising in the aviation, corporate, cultural, government, education, healthcare, legal and sports markets. In the year to 31 December 2016, it reported pre-tax profit of £2.4m.

It will continue to be led by its president Theodore Sak and chief operating officer Glenn Jardine once the acquisition is complete.

CBRE employs 75,000 staff across 450 global offices and has clients in more than 100 countries. Mike Lafitte, its group president, lines of business, said: “This acquisition advances our strategy to grow our project management expertise and capabilities. Heery has a strong track record of client service with many longstanding relationships spanning decades.”

Among the schemes Heery has worked on is the new home of Georgia State Panthers, a US college American football team based in Atlanta. The stadium was first built for the 1996 Olympic Games in the city before it was turned into the home of baseball side Atlanta Braves.