WSP Global’s acquisition hunt hasn’t ended after the ‘consolidation’ phase: CEO

MONTREAL – WSP Global expects to continue its acquisition spree this year after acquiring several more companies in the first three months of the year.

Since mid-March, the engineering firm has purchased four consulting firms in four countries – Canada, Finland, Spain and the United States – employing more than 800 employees.

These purchases follow five other acquisitions since September 2022, when WSP acquired the environmental and infrastructure business of UK-based John Wood Group for $1.81 billion.

As of March 31, employment at the Montreal-based company was 67,200, down 100 from a year earlier, despite a buying frenzy as WSP seeks to “deliver more with less,” said CEO Alexandre L’Heureux. However, this number has since exceeded the 2023 level.

The CEO said that after a year of “consolidation” of the company, the stage is set for further growth both within existing businesses and companies yet to be acquired.

“All the ingredients are in place for us to continue our inorganic and organic growth,” L’Heureux said during a conference call with analysts on Thursday.

“Thanks to mergers and acquisitions, we are off to a very good start,” he said. “The pipeline is in good condition, so I’m sure the rest of the year should bear fruit.”

Since 2012, the Montreal-based company, then known as Genivar, has transformed from a boutique engineering firm with 15,000 employees into an engineering giant with a presence in approximately 60 countries.

Healthy organic revenue growth helped deliver a 13 percent increase in net earnings to $126.8 million in the first quarter, the company said.

Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 rose three percent to $3.58 billion, beating analyst expectations by 30 percent, according to LSEG Data & Analytics.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:WSP)

Christopher Reynolds, Canadian Press