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London 2012 Exec Gives John Laing IPO Boost

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor

An official who helped steer London’s staging of the 2012 Olympic Games is to join the board of John Laing, the infrastructure investor, as it prepares for a stock market listing valuing it at more than £1bn.

Sky News understands that Jeremy Beeton, who was director-general of the Government Olympic Executive, will be one of several non-executive directors named this week ahead of what would be the largest City float so far this year.

John Laing, which is owned by Henderson, the asset management group, is expected to raise tens of millions of pounds by selling new shares if it successfully completes its listing.

The company’s most prominent projects include the second Severn river crossing and the new Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool.

Mr Beeton’s appointment will be announced alongside that of David Rough, the former deputy chairman of Xstrata, who courted City controversy by rubber-stamping huge executive pay awards when it merged with Glencore in 2013.

An insider said that Mr Rough would not chair the remuneration committee of John Laing.

Anne Wade, a former executive at the fund management giant Capital International, will also be appointed to John Laing’s board, a source said on Saturday.

Mr Beeton was paid a bonus of more than £200,000 for his role working on the London Olympics.

In July 2012, he was approved by Whitehall’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments – which seeks to prevent conflicts of interest for public servants who move to the private sector – to take roles at Macquarie, the Australian bank and infrastructure investor, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountancy firm.

Macquarie was this week reported to be pursuing a possible takeover bid for John Laing, although insiders said this weekend that the company was “focused on an initial public offering”.

John Laing was listed on the stock market until 2007, but had experienced a traumatic time after costs spiralled out of control during work on the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Henderson has been keen to explore an exit for some time.

John Laing’s new chief executive, Olivier Brousse, believes its shares will be attractive to new investors because of the scope to export the public-private partnership (PPP) around the world.

“There is a lot of interest in John Laing because of the potential to scale it up,” he told The Times last month.

“For us it is about getting more funds to grow the business — 2015 will bring the answer and then we can decide on new sectors and new countries.”

John Laing has already developed a presence in Australia and Mr Brousse describes the US market as “our new frontier”.

The valuation of John Laing when it lists will depend on the demand for new shares and the broader market sentiment at a time when currency moves by the Swiss central bank and concerns about global economic growth have caused some jitters among investors.

John Laing is a separate company to John Laing Infrastructure Fund, which is already listed and which recently attempted to bid for a large chunk of Balfour Beatty, the troubled construction group.

A John Laing spokesman declined to comment.


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