Bosses of Oxford-based contractor could retake control of the business after Dutch parent signals UK pull-out

Leadbitter Construction may be bought by its management after Dutch parent company Heijmans said it would pull out of the UK.

According to one source close to the company, it is one option being studied by the existing management team after Heijmans said last week it would focus on its Dutch operations.

Bob Rendell
Chief executive Rendell owned Leadbitter before 2003

The source said: “There is no rush to make a decision but the management could buy the company back rather than allow another group to take over. Raising the money shouldn't be too much of a problem.”

Chief executive Bob Rendell owned the company before selling to Heijmans in 2003.

Leadbitter, which includes South-east contracting business Denne Construction, is set to make £10m pre-tax profit on turnover of £318m this year.

But despite the UK business's relatively strong performance, problems at Heijmans have been well documented over the past year.

Chairman Guus Hoefsloot stepped down in May last year after the housing slump and rising costs hits profits.

At the time Rendell said: “I remain confident that the Heijmans Group is robust and diverse enough to positively overcome its current situation.”

In its results last week, the group announced a €100m (£88.5m) rights issue and a refinancing package with its lenders.

Heijmans made a pre-tax loss of €16m (£14.2m) on turnover of €3.6bn (£3.2bn).

Interested parties in the UK arm of the business could include French giants Vinci and Bouygues, which have both signalled their intention to expand into the UK regions.