Over the past several years, design firms have been consolidating, leading to the development of an increasing number of megafirms. This trend is continuing this month with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.’s absorption of U.K.-based W.S Atkins Plc, raising the combined workforce to over 50,000. “It’s very much business as usual,” says Heath Drewett, now Atkins’s president. Having achieved the goal of an 8% margin last year, the focus is now on growth, he adds. Det skriver ENR på sin hemsida.
In the design sector, “consolidation will definitely continue,” says Lars-Peter Søbye, president and CEO of Denmark’s COWI AS. COWI seeks to make up for its relatively small size by being in the top three in selected regions and core business lines. Søbye plans to grow sales by 25%, to $1.1 billion, over the next three years.
“This … will be a year of consolidation,” says Tomas Carlsson, CEO of Sweden’s Sweco AB, which acquired Netherlands-based Grontmij in 2015. Yet with a head count of about 16,000 now, “we are looking for acquisitions all over northern Europe,” he adds.