Canadian consulting firm Stantec buys UK-based ESI

20 April 2018 3 min. read

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

In the latest consultancy M&A deal to take place on UK soil, Canadian firm Stantec has absorbed ESI, a Shrewsbury-based boutique environmental consultancy. ESI has built up a strong reputation from decades of project work analyzing environmental risk. Acquiring firm Stantec provides consulting services along with a full suite of professional services in the areas of design and engineering. The Canadian consulting firm boasts more than 22,000 employees and 400+ offices worldwide.

The ESI addition will add to Stantec’s technical proficiency in environmental analysis. A majority of the 50 ESI employees are environmental, geological, and engineering experts. Their knowledge base runs from from hydrogeology and water resource management, to contaminated land development, waste, and groundwater consulting expertise. Under Managing Director Jon Cooke’s stewardship, ESI has built a desirable 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 been a key player in projects which require strong public/private partnerships and a diverse array of stakeholders. Among other projects, ESI has been tapped to develop a sophisticated groundwater model that will be critical to Highway England’s £1.5 billion plan to upgrade the A14 freeway.

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

Remarking on the deal, 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

The deal sees Stantec takes over all three of ESI’s UK offices, including the Shrewsbury headquarters and offices in Reading and Cardiff. Stantec UK Ltd already has an office in the Welsh capital, and recently opened another location in Bristol. Existing Stantec UK operations are almost exclusively derived from the firm’s 2016 $795 million acquisition of MWH Global, which employed thousands of British staff.

The ESI acquisition arrives in the wake of a huge earlier Canada-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 $3.6 billion. Atkins was an advisor to many large British infrastructure projects, including Crossrail2 and the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant.