Lancashire support services Enterprise plc has been bought by the Spanish owners of Heathrow airport in a £385m deal.
In an announcement circulated to staff at the company’s head office in Farington, Leyland, on Thursday morning, chief executive Ian Fraser confirmed Ferrovial Services had “signed an agreement” to acquire the business.
He said the deal, which is subject to European regulatory approval, was expected to complete in “early April” when Enterprise is expected to integrate into Ferrovial’s support services arm, Amey.
Mr Fraser added: “Both Amey and Ferrovial Services have given us their reassurance that, upon deal completion, they plan to grow and invest in the business.
“This is positive news for our employees and clients, who can look forward to working with an organisation that is continuing to grow and invest against a backdrop of tough economic conditions.”
He told staff it was “crucial” both Enterprise and Ferrovial “continue to operate as two completely separate companies” until it received European approval.
The chief executive added: “It will be business as usual and all aspects of operations, commercial management and bidding activity will remain independent from Amey, until the deal is completed.”
In a statement released on Thursday, chairman Alan Peterson, a renowned ‘company doctor’ brought in by its private equity owners, 3i, in 2011, said the deal “underpins the future growth” of the business.
He added: “This transaction is a logical next step for Enterprise, and we look forward with excitement to joining the enlarged Ferrovial Services business in the UK.”
Mr Fraser, the former head of Kwik Fit who took over at the helm in 2009, said the deal was “a positive move” for the firm.
He said: “We believe there is a strong strategic fit between Enterprise and Ferrovial, which together can address the growing opportunities offered by our marketplace with enhanced resources and a wider range of activities.
“Both businesses provide excellent service to their clients and will continue to do so as an enlarged group.”
In a statement on Thursday, Ferrovial chief executive Inigo Meiras said the acquisition fitted the Spanish firm’s “strategic objective of profitable growth.”
He added: “It enables us to expand our services business.”