Canadians to buy British engineer rival WS Atkins in £2bn deal

A pedestrian walks past the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. headquarters in Montreal

A pedestrian walks past the SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. headquarters in Montreal

The deal will now need to be rubber-stamped by shareholders and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

The statement reads: 'The acquisition will enhance SNC-Lavalin's global position and addressable market in infrastructure, rail and transit and nuclear, combine two highly complementary businesses and increase both geographic reach and customer diversification globally'. This values Atkins at £2∙1bn and represents a premium of 35% on the closing price of its shares on March 31. 'It also creates new revenue growth opportunities in key geographies by positioning us to capitalise on increased cross-selling and the opportunity to win and deliver major projects in new regions'.

Founded in 1911 by Swiss-born Arthur Surveyer in Montréal and merged in 1991 with its biggest competitor, Lavalin, to become SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based company is one of the world's leading engineering and construction groups providing EPC and EPCM services in a variety of industry sectors, including mining and metallurgy, oil and gas, environment and water, infrastructure and clean power.

If Atkins announces, declares, makes or pays any dividend or other distribution then SNC-Lavalin said it will reduce the offer price by an equal amount.

The Atkins brand including Faithful + Gould will remain during the takeover period but will be looked at in the long-term depending on client feedback.

The Montreal firm, which had until May 1 to finalize its offer made on April 3, would benefit from Atkins' broader exposure to USA and United Kingdom infrastructure markets and being able to move away from oil-and-gas work, while the British firm would gain size to bid larger projects. The Atkins board has unanimously voted in favour of the deal, which will see Uwe Krueger depart as chief executive. The new combined firm also says it agrees "that for at least two full financial years" after the deal's effective date, not to "reduce any terms relating to notice periods or pension accrual or contributions".