BALFOUR Beatty announced on August 10 that it has agreed to acquire German signalling contractor SBB for €14m, once clearance has been received from the competition authorities.

The majority of SBB's work is signalling installation and renewal under framework contracts with German Railway. Based at Stassfurt near Leipzig, the company has 85 employees; in 2004 sales totalled €10m. Most of its business is currently in the former East Germany, but SBB has recently extended its activities into the West.

SBB is to become part of Balfour Beatty Rail Power Systems, the München-based subsidiary which specialises in electrification and power systems in the international rail market.

'The acquisition of SBB will offer us an important opportunity to broaden our signalling capability and develop further our excellent relationship with DB', said Balfour Beatty Chief Executive Ian Tyler.

H Balfour Beatty has announced the £8m acquisition of British engineering firm Pennine Group, which uses specialist vibration techniques and proprietary equipment to treat poor ground. International expansion is planned, particularly in the Middle East.