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£124m engineering consultancy buyout

US-based CH2M Hill has agreed an £124 million deal to buy UK engineering consultancy Halcrow.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of Halcrow shareholders and the UK High Court, but the agreement is expected to close in November.

Halcrow, an engineering, planning, design, and management services firm, has 6,000 employees and is known for signature projects such as High Speed 1 (also known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link), the Chongzun Expressway in China and Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates. Halcrow reported revenue of  £465 million in 2010.

CH2M HILL is a global engineering firm specialising in consulting, design, operations, and program management, with signature projects including the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Program and the management of The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site in the US, one of the most complex nuclear decommissioning and environmental cleanup programs in the world.

Peter Gammie, Halcrow’s chief executive, said the move is the culmination of a business relationship going back many years.

He said: “The consolidation, which reflects an increasing trend in our industry, will create a very significant value proposition for clients. We are very complementary in terms of our skills and our markets so, where we share geographies, we are reinforcing one another rather than duplicating.

“CH2M HILL is an ambitious and progressive company with strong growth plans, and I see great opportunity for employees and for Halcrow as a business.

“We are currently in the process of sharing this news with our employees and industry partners. We also remain fully focused on our clients and on their day-to-day requirements for the delivery of their projects.”

CH2M HILL chairman and CEO Lee McIntire said: “This acquisition is a game changer for our clients.  Our global footprint will be deeper and our bench strength will be even more robust. By combining our resources and leveraging our collective technical know-how, we will set a new standard for the marketplace. Best of all, our two firms are ideally suited in terms of cultures, markets, geographies, and we have a shared long-term vision for the future.”

CH2M said the combination of the two firms will help it “advance its leadership in water, environmental, transportation and other markets”. 

With the addition of Halcrow’s operations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America, CH2M HILL will more than double its international presence to almost 30,000 employees globally including over 11,000 outside of the U.S. 

Halcrow was founded in 1868 and specialises in transport, environmental and other infrastructure projects.