WSP acquires Golder in $1.5B deal that creates one of world’s biggest environmental consulting firms

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Montreal-based Canadian engineering leader WSP Global Inc. has acquired Ontario-based Golder Associates for nearly $1.5 billion, making WSP what it calls the “leading global environmental consulting firm.”

WSP CEO Alexandre L’Heureux announced on December 3 that the deal positions the company as a global force capable of capitalizing on rapidly growing trends in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) that is driving demand for environmental services and sustainable infrastructure development.

The expanded consulting engineering firm will have approximately 14,000 of its 54,000 professionals dedicated to “accelerating the world’s green transition,” explained L’Heureux, who called Golder a “global leader in earth sciences and environmental services” that operates in 155 offices with approximately 7,000 employees across more than 30 countries globally.

“This acquisition directly contributes to the realization of the goals we laid out in our 2019-2021 Global Strategic Plan and is expected to contribute to both strategic growth and value creation for many years to come,” L’Heureux announced in a statement to media.

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The deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2021, led WSP’s shares to rise sharply, hitting all-time highs on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Funding for the deal, which acquires assets of Golder’s holding company Enterra Holdings Ltd., comes through relationships with Singapore-based GIC, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with an established global network, and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest institutional investors.

The environment sector will account for about 25% of WSP’s total annual revenues of $8 billion.

Since 1960, Golder has been an employee-owned engineering and consulting firm focused on the geo-sciences sector. It has been an industry-respected leader in engineering, remediation, regulatory and compliance, design and environmental services to clients in the mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors.

WSP and Golder CEOs
WSP Global CEO Alexandre L’Heureux, left, and Dr. Hisham Mahmoud, global president and CEO of Golder Associates, right, announced that the expanded company will now be in a position to capitalize on a growing demand for environmental services and sustainable infrastructure development. Credit: Company handouts

“Over the last 60 years, Golder has been on a journey where we have built one of the most successful and respected brands in the industry,” announced Dr. Hisham Mahmoud, global president and CEO of Golder, in a statement.

“Combining Golder’s industry-leading expertise with WSP’s impressive world-class platform and highly complementary services will provide long-term benefits for our people and help create greater value for our clients. This view is echoed and confirmed by the overwhelming support of our partners for the transaction. I believe that the compatible cultures and values of WSP and Golder will facilitate a successful integration,” added Mahmoud.

The deal must be greenlighted by not less than 75% of Golder shareholders at a special meeting to be held on January 13, 2021. It is also subject to obtaining the final approval of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.

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