WSP to acquire US firm Louis Berger

The US professional services consultancy expects the $400m deal, financed by an underwritten loan from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, to close in Q4 2018

Louis Berger's US operations represent approximately 70% of its 2018 net revenues
Louis Berger's US operations represent approximately 70% of its 2018 net revenues

Professional services consultancy WSP is set to acquire US firm Louis Berger in the final quarter of this year in a deal worth $400m (AED1.47bn).

In a statement on Tuesday, WSP said the move will add 5,000 people to its workforce, strengthening the group’s US footprint, while “broadening WSP’s presence in continental Europe (mainly Spain and France), Middle East and Latin America”.

Adding to WSP’s US Transportation & Infrastructure – including ports and marine, as well as its environment and water sectors, the addition of Louis Berger will complement WSP’s design and project management practices with extensive expertise in master planning.

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WSP said Louis Berger, whose US operations represent approximately 70% of its 2018 net revenues, had undertaken the restructuring of its international operations in connection with US compliance Department of Justice monitorship of Louis Berger’s international divisions, which were instituted in 2015.

With this in mind, WSP added it intended to pursue this restructuring, noting approximately $50m in one-time integration and restricting costs in the coming years.

The acquisition is expected to complete in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is still subject to customary closing conditions – including regulatory approvals and the completion of certain administrative actions after the termination of the compliance monitorship.

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Speaking on the move, WSP president and chief executive officer of WSP, Alexandre L’Heureux, said: “The company [Louis Berger] is recognized for its expertise in sectors and services that WSP had targeted for growth, including water, environment (including emergency management) and transportation (including ports and marine), as well as master planning.

“This acquisition will also enable us to increase our presence in geographies we have previously targeted for growth, such as Continental Europe.”

Louis Berger’s chief executive officer, Jim Stamatis, concluded: “As we have just completed our monitorship with the US Government, our most successful year in the company’s history, and continued simplification and restructuring of our operations, this presented an optimal time for us to transition to a new chapter in our evolution." 

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