Parsons Brinckerhoff buy pushes WSP’s second quarter sales up 150%

WSP’s second quarter results show the fruits of its winning the race to buy Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) from Balfour Beatty last year.

Turnover is at $1.5bn, up 150% on the same period in 2014, and pre-tax profit is up $51m to $106m, the company revealed this month.

One of the big personal winners is Pierre Shoiry, WSP president, who plans to sell one-third of his shares in WSP now that they have reached an all-time high.

"These results clearly demonstrate the depth of our employees’ technical expertise, as underscored by recent wins such as the Pacific Highway upgrade project in Australia or the California High-Speed Rail project," said Pierre Shoiry, WSP’s president and chief executive.

He added that although WSP sought organic growth, it was still interested in "identifying opportunities to acquire professional services firms with complementary expertise".

In fact, during the quarter, WSP acquired FLK Sverige, a 50-employee mechanical engineering firm in Sweden, and Vicicom, a 35-employee firm specialising in telecommunications for municipalities and operators, also in Sweden.

As well as the PB acquisition, WSP’s figures were boosted by a strong performance in Ontario and Quebec, offsetting weaker growth in western Canada.

The Canadian engineer beat its UK rival Atkins to PB in one of the most dramatic stories of 2014.

The drama lay partly in the bidding war for PB, which pushed its price to $1.35bn, and partly in the role the sale played in scuppering the merger between the UK’s two largest contractors, Balfour Beatty and Carillion.

One of the big personal winners is Shoiry, who plans to sell one-third of his shares in WSP now that they have reached an all-time high.

The company said he plans to sell a portion over the next year for "financial diversification and estate planning purposes".

Earlier this month the value of his shares topped $40m.

Updated 9 September to replace "Parsons" with "PB" to distinguish Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) from a different company, Parsons Corporation.

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