Specialist UK advisory ESI snapped up by Canadian consultancy Stantec

20 April 2018 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Expanding its UK footprint, Canadian engineering consultancy Stantec has acquired Shrewsbury-based environmental advisory specialist ESI Consulting for an undisclosed fee.

ESI’s stellar reputation, cultivated over decades of project work surveying environmental risk, will be absorbed by Stantec in the latest consultancy M&A deal impacting the UK. Boasting more than 22,000 employees and 400 offices worldwide, the Canadian consulting firm combines its consulting offering with the full spectrum of professional services in the design and engineering industries.

The ESI acquisition greatly enriches Stantec’s technical proficiency. A majority of the 50 ESI employees moving to the Stantec team come armed with elite academic qualifications, while Managing Director Jon Cooke is an Engineering Geologist. This knowledge base runs the gamut from hydrogeology and water resource management, to contaminated land development, waste and groundwater consulting expertise. Under Cooke’s stewardship, ESI has tended an enviable portfolio of public and private sector clients.

ESI board is comprised of engineering specialists

Highly sought after in a range of industries – including transport, logistics, property and infrastructure - ESI has frequently found itself a key player in projects which necessitate strong public/private partnerships and a diverse cast of actors. Among other projects, ESI has been relied on to develop a sophisticated groundwater model that will prove critical to Highway England’s £1.5 billion ambition to upgrade the A14.

Cath Schefer, Stantec Managing Director of Stantec’s Europe-Africa & India division, commented, “ESI brings the experience and highly-respected project work that complements the longstanding presence we’ve held throughout the United Kingdom. Our combined teams will provide creative solutions, leading edge analysis, and proven value for our clients across a wide range of industries.”

In turn ESI’s Jon Cooke said, “Just like Stantec, we have a commitment to the communities we serve throughout the UK and we look forward to connecting to a larger network of technical support to expand our reach throughout the region and beyond. We also appreciate that our talented team members will be exposed to a global portfolio of projects and career opportunities as we integrate into the Stantec company community.”

Canadian conquest

Stantec also takes over all three of ESI’s UK offices, including the Shrewsbury headquarters and facilities in Reading and Cardiff. Stantec UK Ltd already has an office in the Welsh capital, and recently opened another in Bristol, which Carol Daniels, Stantec UK Procurement Manager, expects will be welcomed by clients in the South West. Existing UK operations are almost exclusively centred on Stantec’s 2016 $795 million cash buy of MWH Global, which employed thousands of British staff.

The ESI acquisition comes hot on the heels of a similar but much larger UK consulting industry M&A deal. Last summer another Canadian engineering consultancy giant - the SNC Lavalin Group - snapped up UK and Scandinavia-based Atkins for a reported £2.1 billion. Atkins was at the centre of even larger British infrastructure projects than ESI, including Crossrail2 and the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.