Business Achievement: Mergers & Acquisitions


AECOM Technology, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA) for its $6 billion acquisition in 2014 of URS Corp. (San Francisco, CA), thereby combining the number one firm on Engineering News-Record's list of the top 500 design firms-AECOM-with the number three firm, and thus forming an engineering and construction giant with annual revenue of more than $19 billion. The combined firm employs approximately 100,000 professionals in 150 countries and includes an environmental staff of about 10,000 people. According to AECOM, the complementary acquisition brings additional services and environmental professionals in critical regions beyond the Americas, such as Europe, where AECOM has tripled its presence in the world's second largest environmental market. The new resources also provide a direct complement in remediation design and construction, assessment, planning and permitting, environmental compliance, and the emerging area of climate adaptation, and they add new industrial construction capacity, creating a full asset life-cycle environmental consultancy.

WSP USA (Reston, VA) for its acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) from Balfour Beatty plc, thereby creating one of the largest pure-play multidisciplinary consulting firms in the world, with combined revenue of $4.8 billion and approximately 31,500 employees in 500 offices located in 39 countries. The combined entity employs approximately 2,500 environmental professionals providing environmental, planning, sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate preparedness services to clients around the globe. According to WSP, the two companies' environmental expertise was very complementary, with little overlap in geographic coverage. Also in 2014, WSP strengthened its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) capabilities through the acquisition of ccrd (New York, NY), bringing the number of WSP's buildings professionals to 1,050 people in 16 offices and strengthening WSP's capabilities in the healthcare, science, and technology markets.

Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA; Waterloo, Ontario) and Australia-based GHD Group for completing their merger in July, thereby creating a global architecture, engineering, environmental consulting, and construction services firm employing 8,500 people, including 4,000 in North America. The merger was one of the largest private stock transactions ever in the engineering and environmental consulting industry-if not the largest-and it represented a rare "merger of equals," according to industry analysts. CRA's goal had been to leverage its environmental, geotechnical, and forensic engineering capabilities and broaden its business in the municipal infrastructure markets, while for GHD the merger represented a major step forward in its effort to increase its growth in North America, where the combined company now has more than 130 offices, to go along with 60 other offices outside the continent.

POWER Engineers, Inc. (Hailey, ID), for its acquisition of Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc. (BRE; Oradell, NJ), one of the most venerable names in the power engineering industry. POWER Engineers has been steadily acquiring over the years, with the principal aim of providing a full range of consulting and engineering services to power project developers. Burns and Roe had been suffering financially but provided significant complementary capabilities, according POWER Engineers CEO Jack Hand, who describes the deal as "four times bigger than anything we've done." Specifically, POWER Engineers was strong on the delivery side of the power business, with more than 1,100 professionals working in delivery, but had only 400 professionals in the power generation segment, where Burns and Roe was especially strong. With the Burns and Roe resources on board, Hand projects that revenue from power generation work can grow from $60 million to $70 million annually today to $150 million within the next five years.

Consulting, design, and engineering firm Ramboll Group (Copenhagen, Denmark) for significantly expanding its global footprint and establishing a base in the United States through the acquisition of ENVIRON Holdings Inc. (Arlington, VA), a firm that employs more than 1,500 environmental and health science specialists in the United States and 20 other countries. According to Ramboll, which employs a total of about 12,500 people in 35 countries, the combination with ENVIRON places it among the top 10 environmental consultancies in the world, with 2,700 professionals working in the areas of environment, health, and water. With the ENVIRON team on board, Ramboll will have a particularly strong presence in the Nordic countries, North America, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, the Middle East, and India, and it will have "significant representation" in Asia, Australia, South America, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corp. (NASDAQ:GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in the United States, for the acquisition of Magnus Pacific Corp., a remediation contractor that was expected to generate $118 million of revenue in 2014. Headquartered near Sacramento, Calif. With regional offices in Dallas, Denver and Seattle, Magnus' services include levee rehabilitation, slurry wall construction, mine reclamation, ground stabilization and wetlands improvements. Magnus will team with GLDD's January 2013 acquisition of 200-person Terra Contracting. CEO Jon Berger said "With this transaction, we now have a nationwide platform with significant skills in executing complex environmental and geotechnical projects both on land and water."

NV5 Holdings, Inc. (Hollywood, FL) for continuing an aggressive campaign to grow the company primarily through acquisition, adding four companies in 2014. In February, NV5 acquired Air Quality Consulting, Inc. (AQC; Tampa, FL), a provider of occupational health, safety, and environmental consulting services to industrial and commercial customers. In March, the firm picked up AK Environmental, LLC (West Trenton, NJ), a 120-employee inspection, construction management, and environmental consulting firm that primarily serves natural gas pipeline companies in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic states, and the Southeast. In July, NV5 strengthened its program management capabilities through the acquisition of Owner's Representative Services, Inc. (ORSI), a specialist in healthcare facilities development and construction operating out of offices in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and Greenwood Village, Colorado. And in November, NV5 acquired the Buric Companies (Cleveland, OH), consisting of Zollinger Buric, Inc. and Buric Global LLC, which combined employ 15 engineering and construction management professionals and provide program management and construction claims consulting services, as well as building information modeling, critical path scheduling, surety consulting, and litigation support services.

Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES; Houston TX) for its acquisition in late 2014 of Environmental Banc & Exchange (EBX), thereby significantly expanding RES's mitigation banking service to include new sectors of conservation (i.e., species) banking and water-quality nutrient banking. EBX is a provider of customized mitigation and ecological offset products operating from offices in North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland, and West Virginia. With the addition of EBX, RES is supplying wetland, stream, and habitat offsets for linear infrastructure projects spanning multiple geographies, from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in Pennsylvania and Ohio to the southeastern United States and the Gulf Coast. Also in 2014, RES entered a new market through a contract to supply ecological offsets to a major player in the mining industry.

CH2M HILL (Denver, CO) for its acquisition in April 2014 of Canada-based TERA Environmental Consultants. With offices in Alberta and British Columbia, TERA focuses on providing environmental consulting services to the Canadian pipeline, power line, and oil and gas industries. TERA's staff is anchored by a group of professional environmental planners who provide project leadership in managing various regulatory processes, supported by a diverse array of technical and scientific specialists. CH2M HILL's growth in the Canadian energy industry is strengthened by TERA's offering of siting, licensing, permitting, and environmental planning services, now allowing CH2M HILL to provide clients the full spectrum of environmental services. Going forward into 2015, the TERA disciplines, when combined with similar assets within CH2M HILL, create a global environmental planning and permitting practice of more than 800 professionals across 23 disciplines.

Cardno Ltd. (Portland, OR) for execution of its 45th merger in 2014, a deal that continued to strengthen the company's ability to serve the expanding oil and gas industry worldwide. In April, Cardno acquired the PPI Group of companies (Houston, TX) for $145 million. PPI provides engineering services to the oil and gas sector in the United States, West Africa, and Asia Pacific. PPI specializes in providing drilling and production; quality and asset management; and engineering and construction services to the midstream and upstream oil and gas sector. The firm generated $133 million in revenue during calendar year 2013.

National Response Corp. (NRC; Great River, NY) for its acquisitions of Sureclean Ltd. (Alness, Scotland) and Specialized Response Solutions (SRS; Fort Worth, TX) in March 2014, and of Emerald Alaska, LLC (Anchorage, AK) in November 2014. With the acquisitions, NRC significantly expanded its reach as a provider of regulatory compliance and emergency response services under the United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990, and built up its presence as a global provider of diversified environmental, industrial, and emergency solutions, with a focus on providing highly responsive local service with the highest safety standards, innovative technology, modern efficient equipment, and dedicated professional employees. NRC combines local services and knowledge with the global strengths of a major international company to deliver quality service in the United States and worldwide.