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Binnie and Gibb to go as parents drop names

BINNIE and Gibb - two of the UK's most prominent engineering names - will disappear on 1 January.

The famous monikas will be dropped by their owners in favour of the American brands of Black & Veatch and Jacobs.

Binnie merged with Black & Veatch in 1995 and has been trading since then as Binnie Black & Veatch.

The move to drop the reference to the renowned water engineering dynasty signals the intention of the Kansas based parent to develop the UK division's energy and IT business alongside its water sector core.

Gibb's owner Jacobs - which acquired the company from Law Group in 2001, wants its UK subsidiary to be seen as integrated into the global operation.

The Binnie title will survive in some overseas markets until the new name can get on pre-tender lists.

In the current political climate being seen as an American company can be a good or bad thing, said Black & Veatch Europe division president Doug Smith. 'It is difficult. A lot of times we want to be British, other times we need to be US. We believe B&V is becoming neutral, especially in the UK.'

Chris Binnie, who worked three times for the company his grandfather founded in 1901, said: 'I am disappointed obviously that the name that was at the forefront of water engineering for over 100 years is no longer to be so. But the reality is that if you are bought by a large US engineering company, they will want to rebadge you.'

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