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Jacobs to merge Gibb and Babtie


US ENGINEERING group Jacobs is to merge its UK infrastructure division with Glasgow based Babtie.

The merged operation will trade as Jacobs Babtie and will incorporate the former Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners business bought by Jacobs in 2001, and follows the completion last month of Jacobs' takeover of Babtie.

Babtie chief executive Bill Mitchell said the Babtie board had agreed to the takeover because it fitted with the firm's plans to double turnover over the next five years.

'It was always on our minds that one way of doing this was as part of a larger organisation, ' Mitchell said.

Last year Babtie increased operating profits by 23% from ú9.2M ($16.3M) while turnover increased to ú180M ($320M).

Jacobs made profits of $128M on turnover of $4.6bn.

Mitchell said he would stay in charge of the UK operation, becoming a Jacobs vice president.

Babtie started talking to Jacobs about the takeover after the two companies had worked together in the nuclear sector.

'Our core values are the same and we are committed to growth of the same order, ' he said.

Jacobs has 2,000 staff in the UK with 800 in Jacobs Infrastructure. The rest are in Jacobs Engineering, the US company's process engineering division.

Jacobs executive vice president of finance and administration, John Prosser, said the deal would increase Jacobs' UK and European Union transportation market as well as enabling it to boost its presence in Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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