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Halcrow buys its way into structures' top flight

News

HALCROW HAS catapulted itself into the top echelon of structural engineering with the acquisition of internationally renowned Canadian practice Yolles.

The deal is a significant move into the North American market for the UK consultant.

It will enable Halcrow to bid nose to nose against Arup, WSP, Connell Mott MacDonald and Buro Happold for high profile structural engineering schemes around the world.

Expansion into North America has been reinforced by the simultaneous purchase of US ports and maritime specialist Han-Padron Associates (HPA).

The deals, signed at the very end of 2004, cost Halcrow $37.6M and bring total staff numbers to 5,000.

Yolles' experience with high rise office and apartment buildings, its links with blue chip international commercial clients and contacts with top name architects will significantly boost Halcrow's property division.

Property already provides Halcrow with 10% of its $440M turnover. Yolles brings 180 staff and a $19.7M turnover.

'Yolles is a perfect fit with our existing property business, and its experience is second to none in complex structural engineering, ' said group board director David Kerr. 'We are very fortunate that it chose to join us.' Acquisition of the 150 strong, $26M turnover HPA has enabled Halcrow to create a separate maritime business group of UK and US expertise headed by main board director Chris Fleming.

'We have ambitious growth plans of 15% a year which, if you look at the developments planned worldwide in the sector, are achievable, ' he said.

The company wants to increase its overseas earnings above the current 37.8% of its $440M 2004 turnover to nearer 50% by 2007.

Other ambitions are to reach $658M turnover and 4.5% margins - up from the current 3% - by the same time. Gross revenues from North America are expected to increase from the current $2M to $56.4M.

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