Four former Jarvis bosses are believed to be in talks to buy part of specialist contracting group Staveley Industries, which is working on Wembley stadium.

The four, led by former Jarvis infrastructure boss Tony Cunningham, are understood to be in discussions to buy a chunk of the £240m-turnover business from its owner, investment house Guinness Peat Group.

The buyout team also includes Martin Brazier and Nigel Ford, former commercial and finance directors of the infrastructure division respectively, and ex-Jarvis signalling installation boss Alan Robson.

An industry source said the four had been looking for a way back to the sector since they left the troubled contractor last year.

The quartet is believed to have joined forces with entrepreneur John Smith, the principal owner of labour firm Vital Resources. It is understood that Smith may provide equity to the acquisition.

Staveley was taken over by Guinness Peat, an existing shareholder in the firm, in 2000 and has since withdrawn from the stock exchange.

It is understood the four are interested in buying the group’s trading arm MJN Colston, which is carrying out the mechanical contracting package on Wembley.

Staveley Industries posted a £240m turnover and £3.8m in pre-tax profits for the year to 31 December 2003. In a statement at the time chairman Blake Nixon said the firms had shown “market improvement” in 2003 and was expecting progress for 2004.

The four men were unavailable for comment as Building went to press, as were Staveley, Guinness Peat and John Smith.

  • Contractors Interserve and Mitie are believed to have put bids in for chunks of Jarvis’ facilities management division. Sources close to the firm said the bids were for contracts in particular sectors, such as health and education, rather than the whole division.

The news follows Alan Lovell, Jarvis chief executive, stating last week that the firm, which had a terrible 2004, was considering changing its name in the future.