THE sale of an entire division of York's family run Shepherd Group which included the transfer of 1,200 employees to a Surrey-based competitor, has been formally completed.

Shepherd Group announced in May it was offloading its Built Environment division to Wates so it could focus future investment on its more profitable Portakabin operations.

The sale, which was formally completed yesterday, included the transfer of three Shepherd businesses which made up the Built Environment division; Shepherd Engineering Services (SES) Shepherd FM, and Shepherd Construction Limited.

David Williams, Shepherd Group chairman said: "The deal supports Shepherd Group’s long-term growth strategy of focusing future investment on the areas of the group with significant sustainable development opportunities.

"In particular, the sale will enable Shepherd Group to further develop its successful Portakabin business which operates throughout the UK and Europe.

"As Shepherd Group celebrates its 125th anniversary, we can reflect on its rich heritage of innovation, dedication and the delivery of quality products and services and at the same time look forward with optimism to the Group’s continued growth and development."

The deal followed rumours dating back to March of a sale between Shepherd and Wates, with the companies later revealing they had been in discussions since December last year.

It was agreed just a week after Shepherd sold its Fulford-based Shepherd Homes business, also previously part of the Built Environment division, to Galliford Try.

Both sales saw all affected staff transferred as part of the deal, however the sale of Shepherd Construction came a day after Shepherd Group confirmed it was making 55 redundancies in the business, in what it described as a an "entirely separate" move as part of an operations review.

For the sales with Wates, Shepherd Group was advised by Paul Trickett, Matthew Nicholson and Maninder Minhas in Deloitte’s Corporate Finance team in Leeds. Tim Wheldon, James Tatro and Luke Aylett of Addleshaw Goddard LLP provided legal advice.

Paul Trickett, partner at Deloitte in Leeds, said: "We are delighted to have advised Shepherd, one of the most high profile family owned businesses in the region, on such a transformational transaction.

"We believe that the Wates Group will be an excellent home for the businesses acquired and wish them every success in the future."

Tim Wheldon, partner at Addleshaw Goddard, said: "This was a super deal to be so closely involved in, a great client to work with and an impressive team effort all round."

In its latest set of financial results the entire Shepherd Group reported flat earnings of £10.1 million off the back of falling revenues, down to £686 million from £748 million in 2013.