In a deal further boosting the company's environmental services growth expectations, global design and professional services giant WSP Global Inc. said it would acquire U.K.-based consulting firm RPS for around $760 million. The cash transaction, set to close in the fourth quarter, would generate $875 million in revenue for the Montreal-based company and add 5,000 employees for an estimated WSP total of 70,000, said company president and CEO Alexandre L’Heureux.
The deal's purchase value represents about 15 times RPS earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), said WSP in an Aug. 8 statement.
"RPS is a perfect fit as it adds depth to our current platform and is highly complementary, in terms of geographies and sectors," L’Heureux said about the transaction.
The deal follows by two months WSP's June 3 announced plan to purchase Wood's environment and infrastructure business for $1.8 billion, doubling the firm’s presence in the U.S. when it is set to close in Q4. WSP says it is boosting its earth and environmental practice to account for one-third of global annual net revenue by 2024, expanding its scale to support the clean energy transition.
WSP Global ranks No. 1 on the latest ENR Top 225 list of International Design Firms, reporting $5.4 billion in non-Canada based revenue and $6.8 billion with Canadian revenue, and is No. 7 on ENR's Top 200 Environmental Firms, reporting about $2.8 billion in global environmental services revenue.
RPS ranks at No. 66 on the Top 200 Environmental Firms global ranking, reporting $770.9 million in 2021 gross revenue, of which it said environmental services revenue is 30%.
The firm said its environmental services revenue is 38% for public sector owners, with 13% in the U.S. The firm noted strong activity last year in facilities upgrade work for British water utilities and also environmental services work in the UK and Australian related to transportation projects.
RPS also projected that its environmental work for oil and gas clients would grow with more sector project activity. It noted 2021 backlog up 14%.
As a global climate and energy consulting firm, RPS' sustainability focus dovetails with WSP's plans to build its environmental, social and corporate governance work, said L’Heureux.
In a statement to ENR, L’Heureux said it is "too soon to tell" how the RPS operational leadership structure will change.