05/09/2014 - 13:44

WSP buys Parsons Brinkerhoff for $1.45bn

05/09/2014 - 13:44

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Toronto-based design and engineering services provider WSP Global has bought Balfour Beatty’s New York-based professional services subsidiary, Parsons Brinkerhoff, for $1.45 billion.

WSP buys Parsons Brinkerhoff for $1.45bn
A semi-automated rail yard and workshop built by Parsons Brinckerhoff for Fortescue Metals Group.

Toronto-based design and engineering services provider WSP Global has bought Balfour Beatty’s New York-based professional services subsidiary, Parsons Brinckerhoff, for $1.45 billion.

Parsons will retain $117.7 million in cash under the terms of the deal.

WSP, which has an office in Perth’s CBD, said the acquisition would strengthen its presence in the UK, Asia and Australia, increasing the size of the company in Western Australia to 350 staff, and from 17,500 to 31,500 globally. According to BNIQ, Parsons Brinkerhoff had 312 staff in WA prior to the acquisition.

“Traditionally WSP in this region has been more involved in the construction and property industry, whereas Parsons deals more with infrastructure, so it’s highly likely that with that joining of parties there’ll be employee growth,” WSP director, Perth manager, Tabe Voigt said.

He said that the two companies were still in the 'getting to know each other' stage, but there would be opportunities in the future for both parties to team up and work together on future projects in Perth. 

WSP provided mechanical, electrical, specialist lighting and environmental services to the Perth Arena, assisted by a consortium of architects including Perth-based Cameron Chisholm and Nicol.

“We are pleased to be joining forces with a firm of Parsons’ long-standing reputation and know-how as we expect this transaction to create an industry leader, with the ability to deliver more expertise and services to our client base across the world,” WSP chief executive officer Pierre Shoiry said.

“We expect to successfully reach the strategic objectives we had set for 2015, by creating one of the largest global pure-play professional services firms in our industry around our four pillars, namely our employees, our clients, our operational excellence and our expertise.

“We also anticipate that the employees of both firms will benefit from the transaction, as we integrate our talents and make the most of our greater scale to continue to develop our people, improve their career opportunities and advance their ability to work globally.” 

WSP said the acquisition is being financed through a combination of $537 million bought through a public offering at a price of $35.85 per subscription receipt, and a $428 million private placement of subscription receipts to two existing shareholders.

WSP’s share price fell by 3.9 per cent to $34.9 per share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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