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Balfour Beatty

Balfour Beatty plc
Traded as LSE: BBY
Industry Infrastructure - professional services, construction services, support services, infrastructure investments
Founded 1909 by George Balfour and Andrew Beatty[1]
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Steve Marshall, Chairman
Leo Quinn, CEO
Revenue £8,440 million (2014)[2]
£(58) million (2014)[2]
£(59) million (2014)[2]
Number of employees
36,000 (2015)[3]
Subsidiaries Numerous

Balfour Beatty plc is a multinational infrastructure group with capabilities in construction services, support services and infrastructure investments. A constituent of the FTSE 250 Index, Balfour Beatty works for customers principally in the UK and the US, with developing businesses in Australia, Canada, the Middle East and South East Asia.[4]

Balfour Beatty is the largest construction contractor in the UK.[5]


  • History 1
  • Operations 2
  • Major projects 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Balfour Beatty was formed in 1909 with a capital of £50,000 (2012:£4,410,000) – an exceptionally large sum for the time. The two principals were Dunfermline; its general construction expertise was extended during World War I with, for example, army camps.[6]

George Balfour was elected to the London Underground. Extensive overseas work started in 1924 when Balfour Beatty took over the management of the East African Power & Lighting company; construction work included hydro-electric schemes in the Dolomites, Malaya and India; power stations in Argentina and Uruguay and the Kut Barrage on the Tigris in Iraq.[7]

By World War II, control of the firm had passed on: Andrew Beatty had died in 1934 and George Balfour died in 1941. Construction work was now dominated by the war effort and notable projects included blocking the approaches to Scapa Flow and the building of six Mulberry harbour units. Peace saw a resumption of Balfour Beatty’s traditional work, power stations and railway work dominating at home. Overseas, a construction company was bought in Canada in 1953 and other work included the Mto Mtwara harbour in Tanganyika and the Wadi Tharthar irrigation scheme in Iraq.[7]

In 1969 Power Securities, which by then owned Balfour Beatty, was taken over by cable manufacturer BICC.[8] Then in 2000 BICC, having sold its cable operations, renamed itself Balfour Beatty.[9]

Balfour Beatty moved away from its traditional area of expertise in 1986 when it formed Balfour Beatty Homes, building on a modest scale from its office in Nottingham. It also opened offices in Paisley and Leatherhead and in 1987 bought the Derbyshire firm of David M Adams to give it an annualised production rate of 700 houses. Little more than a year before the housing market collapsed, through its parent BICC, Clarke Homes was bought for £51m, giving housing sales of over 1600 in 1988. By the mid-1990s, sales were down to only 500 a year and although no financial figures were ever published, the housing operation was believed to have suffered heavy losses. Balfour Beatty Homes was renamed Clarke Homes and then sold to Westbury in 1995.[10]

Balfour Beatty has embarked on a series of acquisitions including Mansell plc, another construction services business, for £42m in 2003,[11] Birse plc, a UK construction & Civils contractor, for £32 m in 2006,[12] Centex Construction, the commercial construction division of the US builder Centex, for £180m in 2007[13] and Cowlin Construction, a UK construction company based in Bristol also in 2007.[14]

the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham being built by Balfour Beatty

In 2008 the Company bought GMH Military Housing, a US-based military accommodation business, for £180m[15] and Dean & Dyball, a leading UK regional contractor, for £45 million.[16]

In March 2009 the company was found to be a subscriber to the Consulting Association, a firm which then prosecuted by the UK Information Commissioner's Office for breaching the Data Protection Act by holding a secret database of construction workers details, including union membership and political affiliations,[17][18] and six enforcement notices were issued against Balfour Beatty companies.[19] As of January 2010, individual workers had started suing the company for being on the blacklist;[20] the first of these cases, however, was ruled in favour of the company.[21] Balfour Beatty was subsequently one of eight businesses involved in establishing the Construction Workers Compensation Scheme in July 2014,[22] though the scheme was condemned as a "PR stunt" by the GMB union,[22] and as an "an act of bad faith" by Parliament's Scottish Affairs Select Committee.[23]

In September 2009 the Company agreed to buy Parsons Brinckerhoff, a US-based project management firm, for $626 million.[24] In October 2010 the company bought Halsall Group, a Canadian professional services firm, for £33 million[25] and then in November 2010 the company bought the remnant of collapsed UK construction company Rok plc for £7 million.[26] In June 2011 it went on to buy Howard S. Wright, one of the oldest contractors on the West Coast of the United States, for £58 million[27] as well as Fru-Con Construction, a US water and wastewater contractor, for £12 million[28] and in January 2013 it bought Subsurface Group, a US consulting and engineering firm.[29]

In mid-2014, the company rebuffed three offers by rival Carillion for the two companies to merge. The last bid, which valued Balfour Beatty at £2.1 billion, was unanimously rejected by the Balfour Beatty board on 20 August 2014, one day before a deadline for negotiations to conclude. Balfour refused to allow an extension of time for negotiations which could have prompted a fourth bid. Carillion subsequently announced it would no longer pursue a merger with its rival.[30]

The company sold Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP Global for $1.24bn in October 2014.[31]


Plasser & Theurer 08-16/4x4C100-RT in Castle Cary in May 2012

Balfour Beatty has three businesses:

  • Construction Services

Building, design, construction management, refurbishment and fit-out, mechanical and electrical services, civil engineering, ground engineering and rail engineering.

  • Support Services

Installation, upgrade and maintenance of water, gas and electricity networks; rail renewals; street and public space management, operation and maintenance.

  • Infrastructure Investments

Operating a portfolio of long-term PPP concessions in the UK, primarily in the education, health and roads/street lighting sectors. Operating a portfolio of long-term military accommodation PPP concessions in the United States. Balfour Beatty also has interests in non-PPP assets in the UK.

The company is a 50% shareholder in Gammon Construction, based in Hong Kong. Balfour Beatty is a member of Constructing Excellence, the Business Services Association and Build UK, comprising members of the Confederation of British Industry.[32]

Major projects

Balfour Beatty Ford Transit at Warminster in May 2014

Projects involving Balfour Beatty include:


  1. ^ Balfour Beatty. "History". Retrieved 23 March 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c Balfour Beatty (25 March 2015). "Results for the year to 31 December 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Home page". Balfour Beatty. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Balfour Beatty 2012 Q1" (PDF). May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Balfour tops 2013 contractor league". Construction News. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  6. ^ Ruth Slavid, Balfour Beatty’s 75 years, Construction News Magazine, June 1984.
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ "Notes on Financial Times Actuaries Index 1969". August 2012. 
  9. ^ Halstead, Richard (August 2012). "Shake-up will see BICC change to Balfour Beatty". The Independent (London). 
  10. ^ Wellings, Fred: Dictionary of British Housebuilders (2006) Troubador. ISBN 978-0-9552965-0-5,
  11. ^ "Balfour Beatty set to buy Mansell". 21 November 2003. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Richardson, Sarah (9 August 2006). "Balfour Beatty issues notice to Birse shareholders". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Balfour Beatty pays £180 for US builder". Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  14. ^ "About us". Cowlin Construction. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  15. ^ Brodie, Sophie (13 February 2008). "Balfour Beatty targets $350m US military deal". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Bill, Tom (19 March 2008). "Balfour Beatty buys Dean & Dyball for £45m". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  17. ^ Rob Evans (4 August 2009). "Balfour Beatty among firms that bought information on workers". Guardian (UK). Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Firm sold workers secret data". BBC News. 6 March 2009. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Construction blacklist". ICO. ICO. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  20. ^ Rob Evans (20 January 2010). "Trade Unionist sues Balfour Beatty". Guardian (UK). Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  21. ^ Hoyle, Rhiannon (8 March 2010). "Balfour Beatty wins first case in blacklisting scandal". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Construction blacklist compensation scheme opens". BBC News: Business. BBC. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Scottish Affairs - Seventh Report Blacklisting in Employment: Final Report". Scottish Affairs Committee. Retrieved 7 September 2015. 
  24. ^ Hoskins, Paul (17 September 2009). "Britain's Balfour Beatty unveils $626 mln U.S. buy". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  25. ^ "Balfour buys Halsall Group for £33m". Building. 13 October 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  26. ^ Balfour buys Rok businesses for £7 million, Reuters, 19 November 2010
  27. ^ "Balfour Beatty buys US contractor". Construction Index. June 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  28. ^ "Balfour Beatty buys US contractor". Construction Index. June 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  29. ^ "Balfour Beatty buys US energy storage business Subsurface Group". Builder & Engineer. 3 January 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  30. ^ "Balfour Beatty rejects latest Carillion merger offer".  
  31. ^ "Balfour Beatty completes $1.24bn sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP Global". City AM. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "UK Contractors Group website". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  33. ^ "Structure information". 26 March 2004. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  34. ^ Docklands Light Railway Official Handbook, Stephen Jolly and Bob Bayman (1986) ISBN 0-904711-80-3
  35. ^ "Motorway Archive – M25". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  36. ^ "Infrastructure maintenance becomes big business". Railway Gazette. 1 February 1997. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  37. ^ "Channel Tunnel on Structurae database" (in Deutsch). Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  38. ^ Cardiff Bay Barrage Report
  39. ^ Hildyard, Nicholas (10 July 2002). "Corner House". Corner House. Archived from the original on 16 May 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  40. ^ "Government of Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department". 31 December 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  41. ^ "Turkish Dam gets UK Support". BBC News. 1 March 1999. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  42. ^ "Motorway Archive – M6 Toll". Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  43. ^ "PFI hospital opens its doors". BBC. 28 January 2002. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  44. ^ University College London Hospital wins award
  45. ^ "New bridge wins praise". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  46. ^ "Balfour Beatty website: Burj Mall Dubai". 10 May 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  47. ^ "The Architect of the Capitol". 2 December 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  48. ^ Balfour Beatty to build King's Cross ticket hall Building, 25 May 2006
  49. ^ "Long winding road to new super-hospital". Birmingham Post. 30 January 2006. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  50. ^ Balfour Beatty and Carillion win £363m East London line contract Guardian, 26 October 2006
  51. ^ "Mott McDonald". Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  52. ^ UK firms sign venue contracts London Olympics, 8 April 2008
  53. ^ Balfour Beatty/Skanska wins £5bn M25 deal Construction News, 8 May 2008
  54. ^ Blackfriars station: Pulling out the stops Building, 28 January 2011
  55. ^ Auditor questions millions of dollars in new Parkland hospital construction contract Business Video, 26 April 2011
  56. ^ Balfour Beatty wins M4/M5 managed motorway contract for £77.6M NCE, 26 October 2012
  57. ^ "Balfour Beatty lands first major London tower job". Construction Enquirer. 10 June 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  58. ^ Balfour Beatty wins Liverpool St station Crossrail contract The Engineer, 13 January 2011

External links

  • Official website
  • Yahoo profile
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