Atkins sells highways business to Skanska for £18m

Atkins has signed a deal to sell its UK Highways Services contracting arm to Skanska UK for £18m.

The consultant said it was selling its highways arm to focus on its core engineering design and project management capabilities.

The highways arm employs 1,200 staff and turned over £80m in the six months to 30 September 2012.

The acquisition increases the size of Skanska’s UK workforce by 25%, and will more than double its infrastructure services operating unit, making it one of the biggest in the UK business.

Skanska will now boasts an 8% share of the £2.4bn highways maintenance market in the UK.

It is now in talks with local authorities over the novation of their maintenance contracts from Atkins to Skanska. The Highways Agency has given its approval in advance.

A joint venture between the two firms recently scooped the first of the new generation of cost-cutting highways asset support contracts in area 2 and 6.

The job worth up to £80m a year over the 5-year term and will cover maintenance of motorways and major ‘A’ roads in the south west.

Prof Dr Uwe Krueger, chief executive officer, said: “The sale of UK Highways Services, which forms part of our UK Highways and Transportation business, is a step forward in the implementation of our strategy which includes work to optimise our portfolio of businesses.

“We wish to focus on growth sectors in engineering, design services and project management.

“We believe Skanska is a more appropriate owner for this business and will enable it to continue to flourish and grow.”

The deal will complete at the end of May when Aktins receives £16m with a further £2m paid subject to the future performance of the business.

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