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Canada’s SNC-Lavalin confirmed on Thursday plans to scoop up UK design consultancy WS Atkins for £2.1bn in the latest move by a foreign company to take advantage of a weak pound.
SNC-Lavalin, an engineering and construction company, said it will pay £20.80 in cash for each Atkins share, representing a 35 per cent premium to the closing price on March 31.
The tie-up will produce a “fully integrated professional services and project management company, with scale and capabilities across its core markets,” SNC-Lavalin said in a statement. The two companies had earlier this month said they were in talks over a potential pact.
Annual cost synergies are forecast by SNC-Lavalin to amount to C$120m (£69.4m) by the end of next year through “the elimination of many of Atkins’ corporate and all of its listing costs” as well as additional expense and operational savings.
After the completion of the deal, Uwe Krueger will give up his role as Atkins chief executive and will also end his role as director at that time. Chief financial officer Heath Drewett has been offered the role of head of Atkins within the combined entity.
The deal represents a step towards the consolidation of the global engineering sector. Atkins works with private and public sector clients, with high profile projects including the redesign of London’s Trafalgar Square as well as the Dubai Opera.
The deal is the latest in the UK market by SNC-Lavalin, which struck a £1.16bn deal for Kentz Corporation, the oil and gas services specialist, in 2014.