WSP Global makes fifth acquisition of year with US environmental services company E&E

Montreal-based consultant WSP Global has announced that it has entered into a "definitive merger agreement" with Ecology and Environment (E&E), a company that offers environmental consultation services, mainly to energy and infrastructure clients in the US, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

The $65m deal will give E&E’s shareholders US$15 in cash per share, as well as a dividend of up to $0.50. This offers a premium of 53% over E&E’s closing share price on 27 August, according to a Nasdaq press release.

The agreement has been approved by E&E’s board of directors, however there is a 30-day "go-shop" period when other bidders can approach the company with higher bids.

Alexandre L’Heureux, chief executive of WSP, said in the statement that the acquisition was "in line with our 2019-21 Global Strategic Plan" and would "enable us to increase both our strategic advisory services and our presence in the US, most particularly the governmental sector". He added that the areas that WSP was particularly interested in were environmental impact assessments, emergency planning and management and site restoration.

The purchase is WSP’s fifth this year, following US-based healthcare engineer Leach Wallace Associates, UK consultant Indigo Planning, French geotechnical company Sepia and Swiss engineer Todt, Gmur + Partner.

E&E employs 775 staff and generated $75m in revenue last year, of which 80% came from the US. Its subsidiaries include Gustavson Associates, a Colorado-based energy and mining consultant, Ecology Brazil, which specialises in environmental and social impact assessment, Gestion Ambiental Consultores, a Chilean environmental services firm, and Walsh Peru, which provided services to the oil and gas, mining, and power generation industries.

WSP Global employs about 49,000 staff in 500 offices serving in 40 countries.

Image: E&E’s projects include protection of the Florida Everglades (Dreamstime)

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