After decades of competition, two major players in the modular pre-engineered bridge business have joined forces. Acrow Bridge announced May 13 that it completed acquisition of the assets and employees of U.K.-based Mabey Bridge.

Shareholders of Mabey Holdings Ltd, a fourth-generation family-owned global bridge and engineering services group, agreed to sell their interest in bridge manufacturing subsidiary Mabey Bridge. Both Acrow and Mabey will continue to operate under their own brands. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bill Killeen, chief executive officer of Acrow, says he first contacted Mabey in 2017, but negotiations didn’t start in earnest until fall of last year, and lasted for six months. “They represent a premium tier market for accelerated modular bridge construction,” he says. “Joining forces gives us a critical mass to compete more effectively.”

The acquisition adds 126 staff members to Acrow’s 220, includes a manufacturing site in Lydney, England, and increases the company’s international reach to some 100 countries, Killeen says. It also enriches Acrow’s bridge portfolio with such products as the Delta bridge, which uses standardized, interchangeable steel components with full highway loading capability to provide a permanent or temporary lightweight steel bridging solution, according to Mabey. “Its ability to span is much longer than what we had in our portfolio,” says Killeen.

Acrow had already been working in more than 80 countries, focusing on rural road development projects, particularly in Africa, says Killeen. The firm also provided 16 bridges to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

In a statement, Juliette Stacey, group chief executive of Mabey Holdings, said: “We believe this combination will deliver the best long-term outcome for our people and customers, as it results in a wider ranging business with vast knowledge and experience and an increased ability to support customers’ needs and requirements worldwide.”