Kiewit Corp. intends to acquire Weeks Marine Inc., a marine construction leader in North America, as a wholly-owned subsidiary with its brand and management intact, in a deal agreed to in a September letter of intent, top executives of the two contractors confirmed on Oct. 11.
The deal is set to close by early 2023, Rick Lanoha, Kiewit president and CEO, said in an email to ENR.
Omaha-based Kiewit is one of the largest engineering and construction companies, with current revenue of $12.1 billion, according to the firm. It ranks at No. 3 on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list, reporting $10.68 billion in global construction revenue in 2021, mostly in industrial and transportation sectors, and ranks at No. 18 on ENR's Top 500 Design Firms list, reporting $996 million in global engineering revenue last year.
The firm was ranked at No. 243 on the 2021 Fortune 500 list and has more than 28,000 employees.
Weeks Marine, based in Cranford, N.J., offers its intended parent new capability in maritime construction through its construction, dredging and marine services divisions. It has three main subsidiaries, Healy Tibbitts Builders Inc., North American Aggregates and Canada-based McNally International Inc. The firm ranks at No. 110 on the Top 400 list, reporting $885 million in 2021 global revenue and has about 1,800 employees.
The firms also rank among the Top 50 on ENR’s global Top 200 Environmental Firms list.
Weeks Marine is family-owned and Kiewit is employee-owned.
"We have a long, successful history working together, possess diverse equipment fleets and share similar cultures," says Lanoha. "We’re excited about the proposed transaction, which will bring dredging and construction experience and resources to Kiewit’s business."
Richard S. Weeks, chairman of Weeks Marine, which dates its founding to 1919, describes the pending acquisition as "an opportunity for the firm to grow.” Weeks will become a company advisor, with current company President and CEO Eric Ellefsen set to retain his positions, Richard Weeks says.
Weeks notes a “long history” of joint ventures between his firm and Kiewit. Weeks Marine unit McNally and Kiewit are in joint venture on the $201.6-million Shoreline Storage Tunnel in Cleveland that will enable the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District to meet combined sewer overflow control requirements under a federal consent decree. The project is set for completion in late 2025.
"Our strengths are complimentary," he says, adding that Weeks Marine is "well capitalized" and has a succession plan in place. "It's a good deal for both sides," Weeks says.
WSP Declines Bidding War for RPS
In another much-watched acquisition, Montreal engineering giant WSP Global Inc. said on Oct, 11 that it will not increase its August offer, of about $646 million, to purchase U.K. consulting firm RPS Group PLC. The firm initially accepted the bid, but the recommendation was withdrawn in late September following a higher bid, at about $695 million, from Pasadena, Calif.-based engineering consultant Tetra Tech.
WSP Global said its offer is expected to lapse on Oct. 18 in accordance with its terms. The firm "continues to value a disciplined approach to acquisitions to maximize shareholder value," it said in a statement. "With a strong balance sheet, WSP Global remains confident of its ability to capture opportunities and execute on its strategic ambitions."
In an Oct. 11 investor note, Maxim Sytchev, construction sector analyst for Toronto-based National Bank of Canada, said the bank is "pleased WSP did not counter with a higher offer for RPS ... as the market had been implying." He said the bank has "full confidence WSP has the ability to achieve its 2024 growth ambitions via M&A."
The RPS acquisition, set to close in the fourth quarter, would add 5,000 global employees to Tetra Tech for a workforce total of about 26,000.
The U.K. firm has called a shareholder vote for Nov. 3 on the Tetra Tech offer, which requires 75% approval to pass.