GDF buys Balfour Beatty's UK facilities unit
PARIS (Reuters) - GDF Suez (GSZ.PA) said on Friday it had acquired WorkPlace, the facilities management unit of Britain's Balfour Beatty (BALF.L), to bolster its energy services and facilities operations in Britain.
The enterprise value of the business is 190 million pounds ($296 million), but any cash payment will be reduced by pension liabilities and any net debt transferring with the business, the French utility said in a statement. GDF did not give details of the purchase price.
WorkPlace provides a range of services to thousands of public facilities in Britain, such as hospitals, schools and local government establishments, and will complement GDF Suez' Cofely unit, a provider of energy and technical services to the private sector.
The combined activities will generate annual revenues of around 800 million pounds, GDF said.
WorkPlace's facilities management business, which employs over 9,000 people, generated revenue of 482 million pounds in 2012 with operating profit of 21 million pounds.
The subsidiary's British clients include the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs.
"This operation will allow us to double the size of our energy efficiency activities in Great Britain," GDF Suez Chief Executive Gerard Mestrallet told Les Echos newspaper, which reported the news late on Thursday.
Completion of the deal is expected in the fourth quarter of 2013.
"We believe this will be seen as a good move for Balfour as it has done what it said it would do even though it has taken a little longer than hoped and a target consideration of 250 million pounds (our estimate) was not reached," Stephen Rawlinson, analyst at Whitman Howard said.
($1 = 0.6429 British pounds)
(Reporting by Elena Berton; additional reporting by Jemima Kelly in London.; Editing by Keiron Henderson and Jane Merriman)
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