Reports say firm has abandoned move for £500m turnover rival

Kier has reportedly pulled the plug on plans buy Tilbury Douglas.

The firm was linked with a move for the near £500m turnover business in January with the firm expected to pay out no more than £50m for the contractor.

At the time, one rival said: “[Kier chief executive] Andrew Davies is a very sensible guy. He wouldn’t be doing a deal if he thought it was risky. They’ve made it clear they want to increase turnover. [Tilbury Douglas] is more construction than civils and do a lot of similar stuff to Kier so it would make sense.”

andrew davies

Kier chief executive Andrew Davies had been expected to pay between £40m and £50m for its rival

But Sky News has reported Kier has now walked away from the bid. Asked how negotiations were going at its interim results earlier this month, Davies declined to comment.

One industry source said: “My guess is that they looked at the books and weren’t comfortable with what they saw. Kier was a credible buyer because they’ve said they want to get their turnover up.

“I’d be surprised if it was a disagreement over the price. I just think it’s Kier not prepared to take it on. You wonder where Tilbury Douglas goes from here.”

Tilbury Douglas rebranded to its historic name last March, 20 years after ditching the marque.

The name, which dates back to 1884, was dropped in 2001 in favour of Interserve as the firm pushed more into the support services sector, such as FM, and away from its historic construction roots.

But Interserve was hobbled by a disastrous foray into the energy from waste sector which sent the firm into administration three years ago with the business being bought out by its banks.

It has since then undergone a break-up with the support services business sold to Mitie for £190m in 2020 and its RMD Kwikform business snapped up by a French-based scaffolding firm for a reported £140m last year.

That has left Tilbury Douglas as the last remaining part of the business with the firm’s last set of accounts for the year to December 2019 showing that it had a turnover of £485m.