Sweett Group shares soar after WSP takeover

Shares in Sweett Group, the troubled UK cost consultant, rose 49% after it was announced that Canadian consulting engineer WSP Global would acquire it for £24m ($35m).

WSP will pay 35p per share in cash, 52% more than Sweett’s closing price on the alternative investment market yesterday (24 May).

Alexandre L’Heureux, the president designate of WSP (WSP)

WSP said the acquisition would boost its position in the global professional services market. John Dodds, Sweett’s chairman, said: "This transaction supports the realisation of both companies’ strategic aims and provides a strong global platform for growth.

"It provides Sweett shareholders with cash at an offer price that recognises Sweett’s underlying value, while enabling Sweett’s business to accelerate its growth potential with the support of WSP’s financial strength."

Alexandre L’Heureux (pictured), the nominated president of WSP, said in a statement: "This transaction fulfils our strategic ambitions of enhancing our project and cost management services and positions our combined group as a leading global consultancy.

"WSP and Sweett operate a similar business model of global knowhow, local delivery and are highly compatible in terms of strategic objectives, being both pure play consulting firms."

The deal follows a turbulent time at Sweett. In February it was convicted of bribery and ordered to pay £2.25m ($3.3m) as after a Serious Fraud Office investigation into its activities in the UAE.

The deal is the latest in a long series of purchases by WSP, the most recent of which was professional services firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which was bought from UK contractor Balfour Beatty for $1.24bn in October 2014.

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