The earth moves for Balfour Beatty


Balfour Beatty has acquired pioneering Lancashire-based ground engineering and piling specialists the Pennine Group for £8.5 million.

The company has recently been involved in the earthworks for the widening of the M60 Manchester ring-road motorway.

The deal will enable the construction giant to further strengthen its existing portfolio of engineering and construction companies.

Manchester’s Clearwater Corporate Finance led, structured and arranged the deal with partner Carl Houghton and director Jon Mercer. Halliwells Tim Jackson-Smith and Mark Dawson advised Pennine Group.

The acquisition follows a year of substantial growth for Bacup-based Pennine, which was founded in 1989 by Andy Russell and Dave Mitchell. The company, which employs 133, has successfully established and consolidated its reputation for innovation in the use of its own-adapted rigs and patented ground improvement techniques.

Pennine’s founding director Andy Russell said: “We have come a long way in a short time and have built our turnover to a record £20 million this year, but further substantial capital investment is required to prevent us from reaching a plateau.

“The acquisition by Balfour Beatty will give us the further finance we need in order to expand our operation and grow turnover to £30 million within the next five years – creating new jobs in Bacup and our regional bases at in Milton Keynes, Gloucester, and Stirling.

“We will continue to offer ground improvement solutions along with some piling systems, and we will continue to strive to maintain our position as the best in our field.”

Despite the acquisition, there are no changes to Pennine’s direct structure. Day-to-day management will remain in the hands of Pennine’s existing managers and directors, with no foreseen changes in supply chain arrangements.

Arwel Williams will remain as managing director and Andy Russell and Dave Mitchell will advise the group on a consultancy basis.

Balfour Beatty has already signed a ten-year lease contract on Pennine’s existing Bacup premises.

Clearwater partner Carl Houghton said; “As part of Balfour Beatty, Pennine will add significant value to their UK and global operations. Coupling it with Balfour Beatty’s worldwide reach will add to the impetus. This is a highly strategic acquisition and the deal is testament to the quality of Pennine’s management and employees.”