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Surprise US remarriage for Kennedy & Donkin

KENNEDY & DONKIN has been acquired by transportation giant Parsons Brinkerhoff just two months after a management buy-back from another US mega-consultant Rust.

K&D director of business development Jack Hill said the company had been persuaded to give up its freedom because competitors were 'getting bigger and bigger,' and that 'to survive, you have to keep up with them'.

Hill revealed that K&D had also been approached by five other consultants and one foreign contractor.

He added: 'PB's approach came out of the blue. We weren't looking to sell the company. We bought it back because we wanted to get it back under our control.'

Hill claimed that K&D agreed to be bought out by PB because of the 'financial clout' that it could offer and the synergies between the businesses.

PB is listed as the largest transportation consultancy in the world, and current projects include the Cairo Metro, the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway and Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel Project.

The 113 year-old company also owns Merz & McLellan - which is currently the second most active UK consultancy in the power sector, one place above K&D. Together, PB's operations make the US firm one of the 10 largest consultancies in the UK.

Some rationalisation within K&D is expected, but Hill denied that there would be any redundancies. 'We will probably be bringing some of the Americans over here and expanding our offices,' he said.

K&D, which currently employs 1,100 and had a turnover last year of pounds60M, will continue to trade under the same name from its Godalming head office.

PB vice president Woody Hitchcock will spend 'between six months and a year' in the

UK to 'integrate the two businesses', working alongside K&D managing director John Springate.

Matthew Jones

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