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WSP bought by Canadian consultant Genivar

Canadian consultant Genivar is to buy consultant WSP for around £278M, it was announced today.

Shareholders in WSP will receive 435p per share, valuing the company at around £278M.

Genivar works predominantly in Canada and has bought WSP to expand its global reach. The combined entity will trade as WSP Genivar. WSP chief executive Chris Cole is to remain as executive chairman of the combined group.

Genivar employs 5,500 staff in over 100 cities in Canada and abroad. It is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and has, as at 6 June, a market capitalisation of approximately C$824M (£518M). The combined firm will remain listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

WSP employs over 9,000 staff working from over 200 offices in over 30 countries. But it has been struggling in the domestic UK market.

In February it confirmed that staff numbers in the UK fell by 275 last year, largely due to enforced redundancies in its highways business.

The firm said its transport and infrastructure business had a tough year in 2011. Staff numbers in its UK transport business fell from 806 to 643 and from 2,350 to 2,108 globally. Overall, staff numbers were broadly constant.

It said it was particularly tough in the UK, which saw a significant reduction in public expenditure especially in higher margin consultancy activities. “The UK public sector spending cuts have had a major impact on the performance of our business,” it said. “The UK roads sector has been particularly hard hit with capital expenditure severely curtailed.”

For the company overall revenue for the year ending 31 December 2011 was up 1% to £717.3M but pre-tax profits down slightly at £18.9M. Net debt on 31 December 2011 stood at £68.3M.

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