WS Atkins agrees to takeover by SNC-Lavalin

SNC-Lavalin Group expanding its global consulting, design and project management capabilities with the takeover of United Kingdom -based WS Atkins Plc.

This values Atkins at £2∙1bn and represents a premium of 35% on the closing price of its shares on March 31.

SNC's funding will also include an $800 million public bought-deal offering, the company said.

About $120 million in cost savings are expected one year after the acquisition. Shares in WS Atkins closed at 1,982.00p on Thursday in London.

Subject to approval by Atkins shareholders, who are being recommended to accept the offer by the board, the acquisition is expected to become effective during Quarter 3 of 2017.

The combination creates a global company specializing in professional services and project management with C$12.1 billion in revenues and 53,000 employees. Tracing its roots back to 1938, Atkins today has 18,000 employees with revenues of approximately £2.0 billion in 2016, and is geographically diversified in the US, Middle East and Asia, together with a leading position in the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

SNC-Lavalin said the combined entity would be able to capitalise on the significant investment being made in infrastructure projects around the world, but said this was particularly true in North America at present.

Bruce said the addition of WS Atkins will increase margins and improve SNC-Lavalin's position in infrastructure, rail and transit, and nuclear by capitalizing on large-scale infrastructure projects in North America and nuclear maintenance and decommissioning projects. However chief financial officer Heath Drewett is understood to have been offered the role of head of Atkins within the combined entity.

Shareholders will have to approve the deal at a general meeting, which will be followed by a court meeting as the takeover will be facilitated by a court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement.

The Acquisition values Atkins' entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital at about 2.1 billion pounds or C$3.6 billion.

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