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Mott MacDonald acquires African power consultant Merz and McLellan

Mott MacDonald has bought South Africa and Botswana power consultant Merz and McLellan as part of the consultant’s expansion plan for the African energy market.

Merz and McLellan has 45 staff based in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa and in Gaborone, Botswana.

Its record in the region dates back to 1910 when it worked on an assignment in South Africa for the Durban Corporation Alice Street Power Station. More significantly in 1920 Charles Merz produced a report which led to the first Electricity Act in South Africa and the formation of Eskom as a national supply utility. The South Africa and Botswana operations stem from a separate local partnership which Charles Merz set up in southern Africa in 1937. The company is currently working on inspection work in Eskom power stations, transmission projects in Botswana and a range of other projects in southern Africa. 

Across Africa Mott MacDonald has projects in some 34 countries spanning various sectors including power, transport, water, environment, health and education. In South Africa the company is involved in a major capital expansion programme which Transnet embarked on to upgrade all nine of the country’s freight terminals and railway freight lines. It also helped design Mbombela Stadium, a 43,500 seat venue that will host first round matches in the 2010 World Cup. Across the region the company is involved in health projects, helping the fight against disease and environmental degradation while in the water sector it is designing sustainable sanitation and water management strategies to improve the aquatic health of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. In the power sector the company is working on such projects as power systems in Libya, power related telecoms in Botswana and smart grid strategy work in South Africa. 

Mott MacDonald’s chairman Peter Wickens said Merz and McLellan will help the Group achieve its growth plans in Africa.

“Merz and McLellan’s recognised credentials, local expertise and resources will help us expand our current power generation, transmission and distribution skills portfolio in southern Africa and beyond. Most importantly the employee-owned company has close synergy with our own culture of innovation, professional excellence and employee ownership,” he said. “We are delighted to welcome Merz and McLellan employees to the Mott MacDonald Group.” 

Merz and McLellan managing director Richard Frantz said joining the Mott MacDonald Group would allow the firms to jointly offer customers a more comprehensive service.

“Working within Mott MacDonald and alongside the company’s international experts will also help us to bring new initiatives and ideas for our clients, while for our staff it offers much wider career opportunities. It will enable us to sustain and build the business and services we offer to our industry, something Merz and McLellan has been doing in southern Africa for the past 73 years,” he said.

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