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WSP stalls on further US investment

CONSULTANT WSP said this week it had shelved plans to expand into the Unites States civil engineering market until doubts about the stability of the American economy are resolved.

The consultant had been looking to buy a US civils business since it took over New York based structures firm Cantor Seinuk and mechanical and electrical company Flack & Kurtz last year.

But WSP this week admitted it was worried that buying another US firm now could hit its share price if City investors associate the deal with an economic downturn.

The fears come in spite of signs that civil engineering will buck the US economic trend on the back of huge sums of Federal money committed to motorway and bridge repairs. But while recent economic indicators have been mixed, there continue to be suggestions that America is heading for a recession.

WSP chief executive Chris Cole said that the company was focusing its efforts on buying a civils firm in Scandinavia instead.

'Once we are satisfied that the [US] economy is in order we will continue to seek acquisitions there, ' he said.

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