Arcadis raises stakes in bidding war for UK’s Hyder

Dutch design giant Arcadis looks set to have won the bidding war for the prestigious UK consulting engineer Hyder – which designed Sydney Harbour Bridge (pictured) – against Japanese rival Nippon Koei, although the auctioneer’s hammer has yet to fall. 

The price of the victory for Arcadis, if it comes, is $53m, the amount by which it had to raise its original offer of $420m in response to Nippon’s counter offer of $440m. If there are no further bids, Arcadis expects to close the deal by 16 October.

Hyder’s shareholders are to vote on the offer on 25 September. As with the previous two offers, Hyder’s board is recommending acceptance. However, Nippon Koei has still not ruled out a further counter bid.

Ivor Catto, Hyder’s chief executive, said the latest bid from Arcadis represented "compelling value" for his shareholders. It also represents compelling value for Mr Catto, who is Hyder’s largest individual stockholder with 170,647 shares under his control. He stands to make $1.2m if the deal goes through.

Hyder specialises in the property, transport, utilities and environment sectors. It is one of the world’s oldest consulting engineers, with a heritage that spans more than two centuries. Among its battle honours are London’s Tower Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

It is based in London, but operates in Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Germany. It employs 4,500 people. It has been listed on the London stock exchange for the past 12 years, and last year made a pre-tax profit of £23.6m.

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