Lagan Group is sold to English giant Breedon in £455m deal
Northern Ireland businessman Kevin Lagan has sold most of his construction businesses to an English firm in a £455m deal.
He has off-loaded his construction materials interests to Breedon Group but will retain his homebuilding firm Lagan Homes.
Breedon Group plc in the East Midlands said the move to buy Lagan Group, which has 750 staff, gave it "immediate critical mass in Ireland and across the entire value chain".
Breedon said jobs would be kept in its operations on both sides of the border.
It added: "Our record in all acquisitions is to grow them, not to shrink them. There is a great business here to invest in, both in Northern Ireland and the Republic."
Lagan is a major supplier of construction materials and contract surfacing in Ireland and the UK, with a modern cement plant in Kinnegad in Co Westmeath, nine quarries, 13 asphalt plants and nine ready-mix concrete plants. In its most recent results Lagan Group reported sales of £249m.
The business was formed in the 1960s outside Belfast by Mr Lagan's father Peter when he opened his first quarry at Whitemountain.
Kevin and his brother Michael worked in the business before a legal agreement to separate their companies in 2008.
A spokesman for Lagan Group said he had "undoubtedly been the driving force behind the business for over 40 years, growing its turnover to £272m, with combined earnings (EBITDA) of approximately £55m in 2017".
Mr Lagan also thanked staff for their contribution.
"Our committed and passionate staff at Lagan Group have contributed significantly to the development and growth of the business, differentiating us from our competition in all of the markets in which we operate.
"I'd like to thank the staff for the role they have played in the growth of Lagan Group, and I wish them every success as they enter an exciting new chapter with Breedon, who I am confident will build on that success, supporting the development of the business in the years ahead."
Mr Lagan said he and his family will now focus on growing the Lagan Homes business, as well as LF FastHouse, which makes modular closed panel and timber frames for the construction industry. It is to supply nearly 500 holiday lodges to Ireland's first CenterParcs in Co Longford.
Last year Lagan Homes posted total turnover of £76m, with combined profit before tax coming in at around £10m.
Breedon executive chairman Peter Thom said: "Over the last eight years we have pursued a successful buy-and-build strategy which has established Breedon as the largest independent construction materials business in the UK, and the acquisition of Lagan is another strategic step for us.
"We believe it has the potential to add significantly to the group's performance."