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'Global' Parsons Brinckerhoff targets UK opportunities

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PARSONS BRINCKERHOFF is to make a concerted effort to sell programme management to leading UK clients after winning the seven year West Coast Main Line contract.

PB chairman Bob Prieto said that the world's 11th largest engineering design firm will target UK-headquartered multinationals. PB will aim to establish the kind of global alliances it has with firms like General Motors and Boeing, whose flight simulators are all programme managed by PB regardless of location.

Prieto told NCE: 'The water sector in the US is going to provide one of the single largest opportunities for British firms - ever - because the experience base is here. I am very interested in working for a UK water company as they compete in the US market.'

Prieto claimed that, despite PB's US roots, the firm is a global company which sees the UK as one of its 'home markets'.

PB bought UK firms Merz & McLellan in 1995 and Kennedy & Donkin in 1998. In a reorganisation due to be confirmed next month, M&M and K&D's power operations will be merged into the 435-strong PB Power. The remaining 1,640 UK-based staff will work for a broad based engineering and project management division called PB Holdings. The Kennedy & Donkin and Merz & McLellan names are being phased out.

Prieto wants 10% organic growth from the businesses, while not ruling out acquisitions (NCE last week). PB is the world's largest transport planner and will be looking to grasp opportunities from the integrated transport initiative. Telecommunications is another target market.

'A lot of what happened in the US is coming to Europe in terms of large fibre optic networks and cable landing stations,' claimed the PB chairman.

Management consultancy, particularly in transport, is another European growth market in Prieto's eyes. He expects e-commerce to explode over the next five years and thinks PB will develop its plans globally.

Prieto also said he intended to import UK power engineering skills into the US as they were 'the best in the world'.

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