UK-based Laing O’Rourke is putting its Australian business up for sale following a strategic review of the group.

The move follows a series of takeover approaches for parts of the company.

Chairman Ray O’Rourke also confirmed a “streamlining” of the UK and European operations.

The company said the move followed a “testing time” at the firm which saw the UK and European division rack up a £58 million (€77.6 million) pre-tax loss in the year to March 2015. It also said that 2016 would be a “challenging” year, while former CEO Anna Stewart stood down for health reasons in December.

O’Rourke said, “During the fourth quarter of 2015, the Laing O’Rourke group executive carried out a strategic review of its business portfolio, including options as to the allocation of capital over the remainder of this decade.

“This review was partially triggered following unsolicited approaches from a number of parties expressing interest in acquiring parts of our business, including our very successful Australian business.”

He continued, “This is reflective of both the strength and attractiveness of this element of the group which, having performed well in recent years, is now strongly positioned in the emerging infrastructure market with blue-chip clients, a solid pipeline, a talented leadership team and great people.”

He said that a formal sale process would now start, led by HSBC Investment Bank.

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