Singapore’s Surbana Jurong buys Australia’s SMEC to create Asian consulting giant

Surbana Jurong, a Singapore-based urban design company, is to buy SMEC, an Australian infrastructure consultancy, for S$400m (US$300m).

Under the terms of the deal, Surbana will buy 100% of SMEC’s shares. The combined company will employ almost 10,000 staff in over 95 offices across 40 countries in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Liew Mun Leong, the chairman of Surbana, said: "A large part of Asia and other emerging countries have to make up an urbanisation and infrastructure deficit in order to grow and support their economies.

"According to a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, infrastructure spending is expected to grow from US$4 trillion per year in 2012 to more than US$9 trillion in 2025 of which 60% will be in the Asia-Pacific market. In addition to financing, wide and deep technical expertise in urbanisation and infrastructure development will be needed."

Surbana recently launched its "smart city in a box" concept: a set of 14 apps that can be fitted to a virtual dashboard so that city managers can monitor processes in real time. Asia One Business reports that there is a smart toilet app that can detects if a toilet requires cleaning. This has already been trialled at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Drowning-detection cameras have been tested in one public swimming pool, and smart home solutions have been tested in some newer condominiums. The water quality management app has been tested in reservoirs.

SMEC was formed in 1949 to undertake the Snowy Mountain Hydroelectric Scheme in New South Wales, at the time one of the largest and most complex such schemes in the world. The project took 25 years to complete and included 16 major dams, seven power stations and one pumping station, more than 225km of tunnels and aqueducts and 2,000km of roads.

Today, SMEC employs almost 6,000 people working within a global network of 75 offices across Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas.

Image: The machine hall of the Murray 1 power station in the Snowy Mountains (Wikimedia Commons)

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