U.K.—based designer W.S. Atkins plc will significantly boost its U.S. market stake with the Aug. 2 announcement of plans to acquire Tampa, Fla.-based transportation engineer and construction manager PBSJ Corp. in a $280-million cash transaction. The proposed deal also provides the U.S. firm with a needed capital infusion for growth and an ownership transition following several tough years financially and recent efforts to seek a buyer. CLARKE The deal would link Atkins, the industry’s 11th largest global design firm with $2.2 billion in 2009 revenue, with an employee-owned engineer that ranks 28th on ENR’s list of the Top 500 Design
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.