WSP snaps up Sweett for £24m

Douglas McCormick

WSP surprised the market this morning by announcing it was buying Sweett Group for £24m. WSP said that the acquisition of the 600-strong projects manager and cost consultant Sweett would strengthen its skills in these areas, add further scale and management strength in the United Kingdom and Europe and provide a complementary client base to which to cross sell services.

The deal follows a turbulent time at Sweett which has seen the consultant admit to bribery charges in the middle east and losses which have seen its share price tumble. It recently wrote off a £5m cost for the fine and knock on effect of pulling out of the Middle East.

WSP has grown rapidly to employ 34,000 people globally, buying Parsons Brinckerhoff for £820m in 2014.

Commenting on the Acquisition, Alexandre L'Heureux, CFO and incoming President and Chief Executive Officer of WSP, said: "This transaction fulfills our strategic ambitions of enhancing our project and cost management services and positions our combined group as a leading global consultancy. WSP and Sweett operate a similar business model of global knowhow, local delivery and are highly compatible in terms of strategic objectives, being both pure play consulting firms."

Commenting on the Acquisition, Paul Dollin, Chief Operating Officer of WSP, said: "This transaction is a key step on WSP's journey as a world class professional services organisation. The combination of skills and compatible cultures will provide a great foundation for the two organisations to work together constructively and enjoyably on selected projects, creating attractive and competitive solutions for our clients. This is a transaction that will truly benefit the business, our people and our clients."

Douglas McCormick, Chief Executive Officer of Sweett, said: "I believe this transaction will provide Sweett, our staff and our clients with enhanced opportunities and the combined entity will achieve increased prominence in the global markets in which we work. By joining WSP, this will provide the Company with a stronger platform, both operationally and financially, for growth in the years ahead."