Balfour Beatty became the second company this week to raise money through a surprise placing of shares, to give it more financial headroom in the current economic climate. The Times

The construction and engineering group, which has recently completed a handful of acquisitions, raised £186m by placing shares that increased its share capital by almost 10%.

Balfour said the placing of 43.3 million shares at 430p was to support growth after its acquisitions, triggering speculation that it could be preparing to announce further acquisitions and bolt-on deals.

The share placing weighed on the company's share price, which fell more than 5% in early trading. Later, the shares were down 3% at 438p.