Ferrovial launches new attempt to offload UK outsourcer Amey

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Ferrovial, the Spanish infrastructure giant, is preparing a fresh effort to offload Amey, paving the way for one of Britain's biggest outsourcers to change ownership.

Sky News has learnt that Ferrovial has appointed Morgan Stanley to oversee an auction of Amey more than two years after initially hoisting a 'for sale' sign over the company.

City sources said on Tuesday that Morgan Stanley was likely to begin sounding out prospective buyers of Amey before Easter.

The process will put into play a business which has held government contracts ranging from prisoner transportation for the Ministry of Justice to maintenance of the UK's rail and road networks.

Amey employs about 14,000 people in Britain, following the recent sale of its waste collection arm to Urbaser.

That figure also excludes Amey's utilities arm, which is in the process of being sold.

Ferrovial, which owns a big chunk of London Heathrow Airport, has been weighing a sale of its entire global services business for much of the last two years, with Amey the subject of a standalone auction process.

The initial attempt to divest it was unsuccessful, however, amid uncertainty about the future of a controversial £2.7bn roads contract in Birmingham.

A dispute with the city's local authority was resolved in 2019, although Amey only finally extricated itself from the deal last year.

The tidying-up of Amey's business is likely to provide prospective buyers with a clearer view about the company's valuation in a sector which has been rocked by several prominent corporate collapses in recent years.

Ferrovial and Amey both declined to comment.