Sunday 20 October 2019 4:21 pm

Temasek mulls purchase of Atkins from SNC-Lavalin

Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek has reportedly held talks about a possible takeover of British engineering giant Atkins.

Canadian conglomerate SNC-Lavalin, which bought Atkins in 2017, is believed to have approached potential bidders including Temasek over the sale of the engineering firm, the Sunday Times reported.

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Atkins, which was founded in 1938, has been involved in high-profile engineering projects including HS2, Crossrail, and Hinkley Point C. It also provided infrastructure and planning support for the London 2012 Olympics Park.

The company had been listed for two decades before Montreal-based SNC picked it up during an ill-fated acquisition spree. The group took over another British engineering firm, Kentz, for £1.2bn in 2014.

SNC has been hit by falling profits since then, and its shares have plunged more than 70 per cent over the past 16 months. The company, which is 20 per cent owned by Quebec’s pension fund, CDPQ, issued a profit warning in July.

SNC is thought to have approached potential buyers for Atkins several months ago but talks are not thought to have progressed significantly since then.

Although it unclear what form a potential deal would take, a joint venture is understood to be a possibility.

Atkins’ former boss, Uwe Kruger, is now a senior manager at Temasek, which manages a portfolio worth 313 billion Singaporean dollars (£177bn).

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Temasek could not be reached for comment. SNC-Lavalin did not respond to a City A.M. request for comment, but told the Sunday Times it was not planning to sell Atkins.

“Conclusively, we can say that we are not looking at doing this,” a spokesperson said. “SNC-Lavalin’s new strategic direction has Atkins as a core element as we grow our engineering services.”

Main image credit: Getty