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WSP completes its takeover of Parsons Brinckerhoff

3 Nov 14 Balfour Beatty has completed the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff to WSP Global Inc for £820m.

The US$1,310.2m purchase price, which was paid in cash, includes preliminary working capital adjustments and $85.5m cash retained by Parsons Brinckerhoff, but excludes debt.

The deal cost Balfour Beatty approximately £50m in taxes and fees and £30m in what it describes as “separation-related costs”.

Of the £753m net cash receipts, Balfour Beatty has promised to return up to £200m to shareholders through a share buyback programme next year, subject to trading conditions at that time. A further £85m will be used to bail out the pension fund deficit. The remainder will be used to bolster the balance sheet and provide financial flexibility.

The sale price represents a multiple of 11 times Parsons Brinckerhoff’s underlying EBITDA for the year ended 31 December 2013.

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Balfour Beatty executive chairman Steve Marshall said: “This sale represents a significant return on Balfour Beatty’s investment and a compelling level of value creation for shareholders. Following the sale, Balfour Beatty will be a simplified and more focused group.  It has leading positions in the UK and US construction and infrastructure markets, all supported by a strong balance sheet.”

WSP president and CEO Pierre Shoiry said: "I am pleased with this acquisition, which reinforces our leadership position in the industry, with the ability to deliver more expertise and services to our client base across the world.”

He added: "We will now focus on merging our respective businesses and on generating revenue synergies, such as, in the rail sector, where we see an opportunity to combine WSP’s expertise in above ground station and platform design, with Parsons Brinckerhoff’s expertise in tunnelling and underground technology; or in the aviation sector, where our expertise in land and air side are complementary."

Parsons Brinckerhoff president and CEO George Pierson will remain an executive director just for a few weeks to help with the transition. He will take on a non-executive director position at the end of the year, WSP said.

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