Chairman Roger Bullivant, who founded the company 40 years ago, said he had only decided to sell ‘after much deliberation’ and stressed the decision had ‘not been taken lightly’.
The piling sector has suffered more heavily that most from cut-throat margins and falling orders. This forced several major players like May Gurney and Morgan Sindall to close their businesses this year.
Bullivant was also forced to restructured the piling business with the loss of 300 jobs as turnover fell to half its pre-recession level.
News of the deal was broken to Bullivant’s remaining 800 staff, spread around nine regional offices and manufacturing facilities, who were said to be stunned by the announcement.
Founder Roger Bullivant said he would now focus his efforts on the Draklow Park development where he plans to build 2,239 homes on a brownfield site near Burton-upon-Trent in the Midlands.
Roger Bullivant told the Burton Mail: “At 72, I’ve taken the difficult decision to sell Roger Bullivant Ltd in order to channel more of my energies into one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in, Drakelow Park.
“This sale, to a company as large as Soletanche Bachy, will safeguard its future in South Derbyshire and ensure the business can continue to go from strength to strength while securing the ongoing position for the loyal employees who have been part of the Roger Bullivant family.
“I will remain as chairman of Drakelow Developments Limited and, together with the team, we aim to direct our energies into delivering a truly sustainable and inspirational scheme at Drakelow Park.”
Bullivant has spent more than £6m on the Drakelow Park scheme but could no longer fund his plans from the core piling business.
He had been searching for an outside investor to help fund the upfront infrastructure costs on the site.