Deal ‘enhances presence in power, rail and telecoms markets’, says contractor

Kier, which last month said it would be hit with a series of writedowns of at least £70m for 2017, has announced the acquisition of privately-owned contractor McNicholas Construction for an undisclosed sum, believed to be between £15m and £19m.

Hertfordshire-based McNicholas employs nearly 2,000 people and generated revenues of £180m last year, with profits before tax of £375,000. It works across a number of sectors, including gas, communications, rail, renewable energy and multi-utility.

Kier said the deal was “a highly complementary addition to our utility services business and enhances our presence in the power, rail and telecoms markets”. The firms are understood to have been discussing a possible deal for a number of months.

Together with the firm’s management team, McNicholas’ chief executive Barry McNicholas is staying with the business, Keir said.

Barry McNicholas said: “We are excited by the opportunities that joining a larger group gives our teams to expand and grow. It also provides our clients access to a broader range of capabilities.”

Last month Kier said it would be taking a £73m charge as part of realigning its portfolio of operations.

Kier’s move for the firm, sometimes known as Green Macs, means the two McNicholas names are now under larger owners. Skanska bought McNicholas plc, also known as Brown Macs, back in December 2006.