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WSP plans more acquisitions after Parsons Brinckerhoff deal

WSP is eyeing more acquisitions, following the £820M deal for Parsons Brinckerhoff announced last night.

The acquisition from Balfour Beatty makes WSP a major player in the consulting world, with 31,000 employees and revenue of £2.3bn internationally.

And WSP’s president and chief executive Pierre Shoiry said the firm’s acquisition trail was unlikely to end there.

“We have a healthy pipeline of smaller acquisitions in various countries,” he said. “We are looking at growth opportunities in the Nordic countries and Canada.  We want to come out of the Parsons Brinckerhoff deal with a balance sheet which still has some room because there are opportunities out there.”

Shoiry said the acquisition will help WSP to grow in the USA, which will account for the largest share of revenue in the combined firm at 27%, compared with just 9% in WSP currently.

The UK will represent 16% of turnover, in line with the current proportion at WSP.

“The deal will consolidate WSP’s top tier position in the UK,” Shoiry said. ”The two businesses are very complementary; Parsons Brinckerhoff is public sector-focussed in power and transport and WSP is very focussed on land development and building.

“In the UK we believe there is room for some upside with the economy recovering. We operate quite a bit in the private sector and we are seeing the private sector moving very positively now and we believe the public spending will follow.”

He added: “We believe there is opportunity to improve margins, both through scalability, and in the public sector. Parsons Brinckerhoff is in a leading position in rail and transportation in the UK and we are seeing a lot more activity around there. We believe there is potential for margin improvement in our operation, and in Parsons Brinckerhoff’s operation in the UK and Europe.”

The combined firm will have over 5,000 staff in the UK.

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