Hargreaves buys Essex earthmover

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Sheffield-based coal and logistics firm Hargreaves has snapped up a civil engineering and earthworking company in a bid to diversify.

C A Blackwell, based in Essex, specialises in earthwork for civil engineering and mining, decontaminating groundwater, renewable energy and flood defences. It has five offices in the UK.

The £11.85m deal will be settled by a cash payment of £8.5m and the transfer to Blackwell shareholders of a property at Earls Colne with a market value of £3.35m.

Blackwell has been in bulk earthmoving and civil engineering for more than 50 years. It also operates mining and quarrying contracts.

A Hargreaves spokesman said: “The operations of Blackwell are highly complementary to those of Hargreaves in terms of skills, experience and, critically, the equipment that they utilise.

“In the opinion of the directors, the integration of Blackwell into Hargreaves creates new and exciting opportunities to deploy one of the largest heavy plant fleets in Europe within a large and well-funded group.”

Gordon Banham, Hargreaves chief executive, commented: “The acquisition of Blackwell extends the reach of Hargreaves into the UK earthworks and civil engineering sector bringing further diversification to the Group and offering an attractive return on capital. The business is complementary to and synergistic with our existing mining operations and offers flexibility with our existing fleet of heavy plant, providing further opportunities to diversify the Group’s operational focus.

“We are delighted to welcome the Blackwell team into the Group and look forward to combining our expertise to work with them on the growing market.”