WSP agrees to buy Capita’s infrastructure and GL Hearn businesses

Mark Naysmith, chief executive officer, WSP UK & EMEA.

WSP has reached an agreement with Capita PLC to buy its Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure (REI) and GL Hearn (GLH) businesses for a combined £60m on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

REI provides specialist advisory, design, engineering, environmental and project management services for land, building and infrastructure owners.

GLH provides advice to real estate developers, investors and occupiers across areas including planning and development, rating, valuation and occupier services.

The reported revenue and profit before tax of the two businesses combined for the year to 31 December 2021 were £88.6m and £5.1m respectively. The combined gross assets were £124.2m at 31 December 2021.

The senior management teams and employees of REI and GLH will remain with their businesses as they transfer to the ownership of WSP.

WSP say the latest acquisitions are in line with the company’s ambitious Global Action Plan and, alongside its intended acquisition of Wood Group’s Earth & Infrastructure business, the purchase will expand WSP’s presence to approximately 9,000 employees in the UK.

Also included in the purchase is Capita’s ratings & valuations expertise, which aligns with WSP’s ambition to diversify its front-end service offering.

Mark Naysmith, chief executive officer, WSP UK & EMEA, said: “This is an exciting time for WSP as we grow in line with the ambitious targets set in our 2022-24 strategy.

“The addition of the Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure and GL Hearn businesses to WSP’s portfolio will increase our expertise across strategically important growth markets, enhancing the delivery of current projects and accelerating our expansion into new sectors.”

“WSP’s key strength lies in the innovation and expertise of our people and we look forward to supporting and growing the combined WSP, Capita Real Estate and Infrastructure and GL Hearn client base across the public and private sectors.”

Capita had previously announced its intention to sell a number of non-core businesses to strengthen the balance sheet and focus on its two core divisions, Capita Public Service and Capita Experience.

Jon Lewis, Capita’s chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of these two businesses to WSP following a competitive sale process.

“It marks another significant step, as we continue to simplify and strengthen Capita, and become a more successful business for the long term.

“At the same time, our REI and GLH colleagues and clients will join an established industry organisation with plans to take the businesses onto the next stage of their development.

“We will continue to execute on our plan at Capita to materially reduce debt through the disposal of non-core businesses.”

The acquisition is expected to formally close in six to eight weeks.

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