The FTSE 250 ground engineering specialist, which built the foundations for London’s Olympic Stadium, on Tuesday said it would partly fund the deal through a share placing to raise almost £60m.
Keller, which earns roughly half its revenues in the North American construction market, said it would make an upfront cash payment of C$227.5m for the business, and as much as C$92.5m in payments that are contingent upon North American Piling’s financial performance over the next three years.
The British construction group said it had “identified Canada as a key target market for Keller, given its relative economic stability, exposure to natural resources . . . and its proximity to the US”.
Keller will fund the acquisition through its existing debt facilities and a placement of 6.6m shares at 890p each – slightly below Monday’s closing price of 906p.
The share placing, representing 9.9 per cent of Keller’s existing share capital, will raise a gross £58.7m. Investec and Jefferies acted as joint bookrunners for the placing.
North American Piling is headquartered in Edmonton and provides piling services – the process of driving columns into the ground to facilitate structural support – for the construction market in Canada, including the Alberta oil sands region.
The company reported operating profit of C$38.5m from revenues of C$236.5m in the year to March 31, and employs 400 people.
“The board has identified Canada as a key target market and this acquisition of a complementary piling business represents an excellent opportunity to build substantially on Keller’s existing presence in that market,” said Justin Atkinson, Keller chief executive.
The company’s shares have risen more than 140 per cent over the past 12 months, on the back of hopes of a further recovery in the US housing market, following years of decline after the 2007 housing boom.
Andy Brown, analyst at Panmure Gordon, said that the acquisition “enhances Keller’s presence in the region and increases the group’s exposure to the energy sector, which looks to be a good move. Part funded by a £59m placing with balance from debt, the acquisition looks to be significantly earnings per share enhancing.”
Keller shares rose 3.2 per cent to 935p in early trading.
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