Halcrow acquires Yolles

UK planning, design and management consultancy Halcrow has acquired the Yolles Group, the Canadian structural engineering consultant.

In a deal signed at the end of last year, the acquisition brings to Halcrow new skills in building design to add to its existing property expertise. Based in Toronto and London, Yolles is one of the world’s most experienced structural and faade consultancies and specializes in the design of buildings across all major sectors. Among its many notable projects are the Canary Wharf development in London, the World Financial Center in New York, the Lester B. Pearson International Airport in Toronto and the International Ocean Shipping Center in Shanghai.

Yolles joined Halcrow in December 2004 and will form part of the company’s property business group. Employing over 180 people, Yolles will use its established operations in Canada and the UK to extend its activities through Halcrow’s network of offices around the world and help lead the growth of Halcrow’s wider property business.

Commenting on the deal, Halcrow main board director David Kerr said the acquisition is part of Halcrow’s strategy to strengthen its capabilities in building engineering and become a leading provider of such services around the world. It also supports Halcrow’s strategy to expand its presence in North America: “We set ourselves a target of acquiring a well established and highly respected business in this part of the world and I’m delighted to say that in Yolles we’ve found a company which exceeds our expectations. It’s a perfect fit with our existing property business. Yolles’s experience is second to none in complex structural engineering and I consider Halcrow to be very fortunate that they have elected to join us.”

For Yolles president Andy Bergmann, the deal is equally strategic: “Although Yolles has been in business for more than 50 years, we have a group of people who are young, talented and ambitious. We’d reached a point in our development where we needed to extend our reach and make more of an impression in other geographic markets. While we could have elected to do so by growing organically or by acquiring other companies, this would have required a great deal of time and effort, and would have detracted from what we need to focus on as a service provider, our clients and our people. Halcrow not only provides us with extensive coverage worldwide, but it also understands our business and can offer services to support our own, and vice versa. The combined Halcrow Yolles expertise has significantly improved both our positions.”

Halcrow specializes in the provision of professional planning, design and management services for infrastructure development worldwide. Founded in 1868, the company has developed into one of the UK’s leading consultancies. In UK industry league tables, Halcrow is ranked within the top ten consultancies in each of its core sectors, and achieved a turnover of 211 million in 2003. The company’s 5,000 employees operate from a network of over 60 offices worldwide and are currently contributing to commissions in over 70 countries.

The company regularly provides consultancy engineering services to government departments, public sector authorities and utilities, industrial and commercial companies, international funding agencies, financial institutions and private individuals.

Halcrow is owned and managed by its employees and staff shareholders, making it one of the largest independent consultancies in its field.

Halcrow’s property business group (in which Yolles will sit) was formed in 2001, assembling a wide range of skills serving the property development and management sector. This dedicated group comprising some 400 specialists in land development, structural and building services engineering will be the vehicle for delivering its projects worldwide.

For more information, please visit www.halcrow.com.