Lavalin to buy WS Atkins for £2.1 billion

SNC-Lavalin To Buy UK-Based WS Atkins For $2.7 Billion

Canadian engineering and construction company SNC-Lavalin Group will acquire United Kingdom engineering consultant WS Atkins in a deal valued at about CA$3.6bn (£2.1bn).

The price is a 35% premium to WS Atkins' closing price of 1,540 pence on the last business day before SNC-Lavalin announced the approach.

SNC-Lavalin's Bruce said: "By combining two highly complementary businesses, we will increase our depth and breadth of services to position us as a premier partner to public and private sector clients". 'It also creates new revenue growth opportunities in key geographies by positioning us to capitalise on increased cross-selling and the opportunity to win and deliver major projects in new regions'.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

Atkins had said at the time that SNC-Lavalin had until May 1 to either make a firm offer or withdraw, according to the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers applicable to British companies.

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However, Liberum analyst Joe Brent said SNC could still face a rival bidder or Atkins shareholders might wait for a bigger bid from the Canadian firm. I look forward to welcoming Atkins' employees into our combined company.

Consistent with the extensive succession planning work completed by Atkins and the Atkins Directors, Heath Drewett, the current group finance director and executive director of Atkins will, upon successful completion of the acquisition, be promoted to lead Atkins within the combined entity.

The deal is expected to generate about C$120 million in cost savings, including C$90 million ($66.83 million) from Atkins and C$30 million ($22.28 million) from SNC, through efforts such as eliminating corporate costs and consolidating offices, Bruce said.

The company added: "SNC-Lavalin attaches great importance to the skills and experienceof the existing management and employees of Atkins and believes that they will benefit from enhanced career and business opportunities within the Combined Entity".

The Caisse transaction involves a loan of $1.5 billion, secured by the value and cash flows of SNC-Lavalin's interest in Ontario's Highway 407 electronic toll road.

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