Engineering giants CH2M and Atkins in “gamechanging” merger talks: report

US engineering consultancy CH2M has approached UK engineer Atkins about a possible $4bn merger, according to a UK newspaper.

Already active in UK infrastructure projects including the proposed high-speed railway, HS2, CH2M made a senior-level approach at the end of last year to explore whether a tie-up could work, however it is unclear how far talks developed, reports The Times today.

Such a merger would be a "gamechanger in the UK market", said The Times.

Denver-based CH2M is well connected in the UK. It and Atkins have worked together in the last few years on major UK infrastructure works, including the London Olympic Games, as delivery partner on the phase one of HS2, and early design for Crossrail 2.

Last week HS2 Ltd., the company developing HS2, hired CH2M’s European managing director Mark Thurston as its chief executive.

CH2M expanded in the UK back in 2011 when it acquired another engineering consultant, Halcrow.

The US firm is the largest of the two businesses, employing about 25,000 employees in more than 50 countries, with around £4.3bn revenue. Atkins has more than 18,000 employees and generates about £1.9bn in turnover.

Both engineering groups have a global reach with Atkins also said to be keen to expand in the US market.

Atkins and CH2M both declined to comment yesterday.

Image: Grimshaw Architects’ render of the planned HS2 station at Euston, London (Grimshaw)

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