Bilfinger, once Germany’s second-biggest builder, announced on December 22 that it is selling its construction division to Switzerland’s Implenia AG in a 230 million-euro ($282 million) deal to exit the industry. The two companies expect the sale of the unit, whose finished contracts totaled about 600 million euros in 2014, to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, they said in separate statements.
“Parting with what was for a long time our traditional business was not an easy decision,” Bilfinger Chief Executive Officer Herbert Bodner said in a statement.
Bodner, 66, took the reins at the Mannheim, Germany-based company, which has been transforming itself into a services provider, on an interim basis in August after predecessor Roland Koch issued his second profit warning inside five weeks. Former politician Koch had himself replaced Bodner as CEO in 2011, when the Austrian-born executive retired.
Bodner reduced the profit goal again on September 4th, citing difficult markets for energy and European oil and gas. Since the third warning, Bilfinger has won a contract to manage 125 hydroelectric power plants for Finnish utility Fortum Oyj, and to maintain two production plants for Norwegian fertilizer maker Yara International.
Implenia, which had revenues of 3.1 billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion) in 2013, was advised on the deal by Lazard Ltd. Bilfinger worked with Rothschild and law firm Allen & Overy LLP.
Bilfinger expects net proceeds from the sale of the unit, which employs nearly 1,900 people, to be about 230 million euros. The planned sale of civil-engineering assets was announced in May, and Bilfinger is still seeking a buyer for its Polish construction operations.