SNC-Lavalin to launch UK investor roadshows after takeover of Crossrail engineer Atkins

 
Lucy White
Work Continues On The Crossrail Railway Project
SNC-Lavalin completed the takeover of Atkins yesterday, which works on many London projects including Crossrail (Source: Getty)

Canadian engineering and construction group SNC-Lavalin is preparing to kick off a number of UK investor roadshows, as the global business looks to diversify its shareholder base after acquiring the UK's Atkins.

SNC-Lavalin completed the £2.1bn takeover of Atkins yesterday, and now owns the company which is working on projects including Crossrail, HS2 and the Thames Tideway “super-sewer”.

Read more: WS Atkins' share price rockets 30 per cent on news of £2.1bn Canadian takeover approach

With the deal running smoothly and completing in the earliest possible timeframe, Toronto-listed SNC-Lavalin is now preparing to take advantage of Atkins' UK exposure.

“We're always interested in diversifying the shareholder base and bringing new shareholders in. The UK and the US are ideal platforms for us to do that. It's an added benefit to the merger,” said the group's chief executive Neil Bruce.

The business, whose current shareholders are mainly “big North American and Canadian investors and pension funds”, will begin touring around the UK with its investor roadshows after it has released its second quarter results in the first week of August.

Until then, the first step following the deal will be bringing the two companies together, Bruce added. The companies mostly operate in complementary niches without too much crossover, but taking Atkins off the London Stock Exchange will keep the team occupied.

“The way the deal has been managed has been quite quick and painless. We just have to make sure that the 100-day integration period is managed in the same way,” Bruce said.

The financing of the deal also helped the process. SNC-Lavalin previously had minimal levels of debt, so was able to leverage the deal by taking a $1.5bn loan from pension fund Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

This allowed SNC-Lavalin to buy Atkins in a cash deal, keeping its BBB credit rating which is important to secure the private-public partnership projects it takes on in Canada.

As the companies begin to merge forces, according to Bruce, the new entity will be keeping an eye out for bolt-on deals to fill in any gaps.

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