Lavalin to acquire Atkins

BRITAIN-TRANSPORT-RAILWAYS-HISTORY-OFFBEAT

WS Atkins PLC late Thursday confirmed it has agreed to a takeover offer from Canadian engineering services firm SNC-Lavalin Group Inc which values the United Kingdom engineering and project management firm at GBP2.1 billion.

SNC-Lavalin's offer of 2080 pence ($26.66) per share in cash is the same as the indicative offer Atkins disclosed on April 3. The Atkins board approves the deal and is recommending shareholders accept.

The Montreal-based company (TSX:SNC) announced the transaction Thursday, about two weeks after it confirmed making a tentative offer.

The UK company will not pay any final dividend for the financial year ended 31 March 2017.

This merger will create a $12.1 billion professional services and project management company with 53,000 employees.

However, Liberum analyst Joe Brent said SNC could still face a rival bidder or Atkins shareholders might wait for a bigger bid from the Canadian firm.

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The acquisition will bring new and complementary capabilities to SNC-Lavalin in three of its four sectors, and with essentially no overlap in its service offering, with a significant presence in Europe, U.K., Scandinavia, the U.S., Middle East and Asia, the company said.

On top of any cross-selling benefits and increased geographical reach, SNC-Lavalin anticipates delivering annual cost synergies of around CAD120.0 million by the end of 2018 - split CAD90.0 million from WS Atkins and CAD30.0 million from SNC-Lavalin.

"This transaction has the potential to transform SNC-Lavalin into one of the leading engineering consulting firms in the world", said Michael Sabia, president and chief executive officer of the Caisse, in a news release.

"Having achieved our strategic target of 8 per cent operating margin, the Atkins directors believe that Atkins is strongly positioned to execute on its growth strategy going forward".

"SNC-Lavalin does not expect this integration review to have a material impact on the continued employment of Atkins' employees", SNC-Lavalin said in a statement.

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