HBG’s UK managing director Adrian Franklin expressed relief this week that the merger talks between his Dutch parent and dredging firm Boskalis were over.

The two firms, which entered negotiations in May, announced that they had collapsed on Monday. The aim had been to create a construction and dredging business worth £800m.

Franklin said: “This has been a distraction for the past few months and I am quite happy to be able to get on with it now,” he said.

Analysts said the deal’s failure was good news for HBG’s UK operations. They had expected that Boskalis would have been keen to pour most of its investment into dredging.

The firms’ boards fell out over HBG’s loss-making German business. It is understood that dredging firm Boskalis wanted to close or sell the operation, but HBG wanted to keep them running.