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Fear for jobs as Balfour Beatty looks to save €50m in cutbacks

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BALFOUR Beatty, Britain's largest construction company, has begun consulting with construction staff and expects jobs to go if new cost saving proposals get the go-ahead.

Balfour Beatty, which developed London's Olympic Aquatics Centre and employs 12,000 staff in the UK, is targeting £50m (€65m) in annual savings in back office functions and other territories across the group by 2015.

"Balfour Beatty Construction Services has commenced a consultation period with its employees to seek employee feedback on proposals for change," it said yesterday.

"At this point in the process, no jobs have been put at risk. We do anticipate that there may be some future job losses if, following dialogue with all of our employees, the decision is made to proceed with the proposals for change. We do not envisage these job losses will affect operational employees involved in project delivery."

The construction services division generates £3.5bn in sales -- more than a third of the group's total turnover -- and includes contractors Mansell, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Balfour Beatty Engineering Services and Balfour Beatty Construction.

The global construction division's profit margins fell to 2.4pc in 2011 from 3pc and Balfour expects them to fall further.

Balfour employs 50,000 people in total and operates in some 80 countries, Shares in the group were down 2.9pc in London

Earlier this month, the FTSE 100 firm posted a 9pc rise in 2011 pre-tax profit to £334m (€400m), boosted by its consultancy, support services and infrastructure businesses.

The threat of redundancies come amid a near crisis for the industry, which is struggling with the worst contraction since the 1970s. (Reuters)

Irish Independent