FRANKFURT May 31 German engineering and
services group Bilfinger aims to sell its civil
engineering division quickly and, at the same time, is open to
acquisitions abroad, the chief executive of the company was
quoted as saying on Saturday.
The company is accepting expressions of interest and
preparing the unit for sale, CEO Roland Koch told newspaper Die
Welt, confirming a story published by Reuters on Friday.
"We just launched the process," he said. "In the interest of
our employees and clients, this process should not last any
longer than is absolutely necessary - we expect one year at
Bilfinger wants to wean itself off a business model
vulnerable to price wars in the building sector and focus on
providing higher-margin engineering and services for industrial
facilities, power plants and real estate.
The company said earlier in May that it aimed to exit
certain parts of its construction activities.
Koch said the group had about 800 million euros for possible
acquisitions and that he aimed to bolster activities in targeted
"Up to now we did only about 20 percent of our business
outside of Europe. That's clearly too little," he said.
The United States may be an interesting place to expand, he
said, but not at the expense of the group's activities in the
Middle East, India or South Africa.
Bilfinger is looking for possible buyers for its civil
engineering division among construction and engineering
companies such as Strabag, Porr, Skanska
, Vinci and Bouygues, sources told
Reuters on Friday.
The division - heavily exposed to Germany and other European
countries - builds steel bridges, tunnels, subways and urban
rail lines as well as noise-protection walls. In the field of
energy, it makes foundations for offshore wind parks and
overhead power lines.
($1 = 0.7345 Euros)
(Reporting by Thomas Atkins; Editing by Pravin Char)