WSP to boost position in US infrastructure with $400m purchase of Louis Berger

Canadian engineer WSP has agreed a takeover of New Jersey rival Louis Berger for US$400m, a deal that will increase its presence in the US infrastructure market.

Jim Stamatis, Louis Berger chief executive, said in a press statement: "WSP and Louis Berger are known to each other as we have pursued and won many projects together and as a result, we feel very comfortable in the strategic and cultural fit as we join together.

Alexandre L’Heureux, chief executive of Montreal-based WSP said: "The company is recognised for its expertise in sectors and services that WSP had targeted for growth. This acquisition will enable us to increase our presence in geographies such as continental Europe. Lastly, it will increase our exposure to the US federal sector. The deal will also boost WSP’s presence in the Middle East and Latin America."

The $400m to pay for the acquisition will come from a loan from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. WSP estimates that the deal will cost $50m in restructuring and integration costs.

WSP has been a frequent shopper since its own purchase by Canada’s Genivar in 2012. Among its notable purchases are UK consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff in 2015 and Mouchel Consulting in 2016. It’s last buy before Louis Berger was Norwegian MEP design specialist UnionConsult in March. 

It presently has a turnover of US$5.4bn, and once Louis Berger’s 5,000 staff join it will have 37,000 employees in 500 offices in 40 countries.  

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

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