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Carl Bro targets UK growth after buyout

News Business

CONSULTANT CARL Bro plans to grow its UK transport, water and environmental businesses over the next year following last week's acquisition of the firm by Dutch consultant Grontmij.

'It is very important that we grow in the UK and Ireland to compete with the largest companies. We have 750 staff in the UK but that is still not large in the market, ' said Carl Bro chief executive Lawrence Hughes.

'In Denmark and Sweden we are among the top three consultants but not in the UK; we are in water and we need to add to that. We are looking for more work in more sectors with increasing protability, ' added Hughes.

Consultant Grontmij acquired Carl Bro last week in a deal worth £93M, creating a company with a combined turnover of £490M (E720) and 6,210 employees.

Grontmij has operations in Holland, Belgium, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary. The acquisition of Carl Bro takes it into Sweden, Denmark and the UK.

'All three regions are now profitable and (parent company) Bure felt that the platform was right to exit, ' said Hughes, speaking of the decision to sell.

Carl Bro's performance has dramatically improved over the past three years.

'The company had gone into areas that it was not so good at, it diversified into writing software for example, ' explained Hughes. 'Bure supported the company through a difficult period but it got its act together and cleared up the balance sheets.' Hughes said he did not expect the structure of Carl Bro to change dramatically. 'Each of Grontmij's international offices operated independently. We are still a UK-based business so now enormous restructuring is expected, ' he said.

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