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WSP Global's acquisition hunt isn't over after ‘consolidation’ phase: CEO

WSP Global's acquisition hunt isn't over after ‘consolidation’ phase: CEO

OTTAWA — WSP Global expects to continue an acquisition spree this year after snapping up several more companies in the first three months of the year.

Since mid-March, the engineering firm has bought four consulting outfits in four countries — Canada, Finland, Spain and the United States — adding more than 800 employees to its roster.

The purchases follow five other acquisitions since September 2022, when WSP absorbed U.K.-based John Wood Group’s environment and infrastructure business for US$1.81-billion.

The Montreal-based company’s headcount sat at 67,200 as of March 31, actually down by 100 from a year earlier despite the buying spree as WSP tries to “deliver more with less,” said CEO Alexandre L’Heureux. The number has since surpassed 2023 levels, however.

After a year of “consolidation” at the firm, the stage is set for more growth through its existing businesses as well as companies yet to be acquired, the chief executive said.

“All of the ingredients are now in place for us to continue to grow inorganically and organically,” L’Heureux said on a conference call with analysts recently.

“With M&A (mergers and acquisitions), we have a very good start,” he said. “The pipeline is healthy, so I’m confident that the remainder of the year should bear fruits.”

Since 2012, the Montreal-based company then known as Genivar has ballooned from a boutique engineering firm with 15,000 workers to an engineering giant with a presence in about 60 countries.

Healthy organic revenue growth helped drive a 13 per cent jump in net earnings to $126.8 million in its first quarter, the company said.

Revenues for the quarter ended March 31 rose three per cent to $3.58 billion, beating analysts’ expectations by 30 per cent, according to LSEG Data & Analytics.

©2024 THE CANADIAN PRESS

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