COWI acquires Donaldson Associates of the UK06 Oct 2014

TunnelTalk reporting

COWI has announced today its acquisition of Donaldson Associates of the UK in a move that strengthens its underground engineering, geotechnics and heavy civil engineering activities and established a foundation for COWI in the active UK tunnelling market.

Donaldson acquisition strengthens COWI

Continuing to operate as Donaldsons, the team will work with COWI tunnel and underground centres in Denmark, Qatar, India and the USA and develop synergies in the UK market with COWI bridge subsidiary, Flint & Neill, which it acquired in 2008.

Donaldsons currently employes 143 staff throughout five UK offices and an office in Hong Kong where it is appointed designer to the Kier Kaden OSSA JV Contract 824 for the Ngau Tam Mei to Tai Kong Po Tunnels on the high speed Express Rail Link project between Hong Kong and mainland China. The firm is known for delivery of high-end geotechnical design and underground engineering with the Hong Kong project including design of large span caverns, shafts and drill+blast tunnels in complex geological conditions. Donaldsons introduced value engineering to remove 93% of the reinforcement from the tunnel linings and a relocation of the 26m span cavern to save time and money. The acquisition of Donaldson widens the COWI skill set to include caverns, hard rock excavation, leading edge spray concrete lining and microtunnelling, and doubles to more than 280 the number of staff COWI has at its disposal for underground construction and tunnel design projects.

"The acquisition of Donaldson Associates is a major achievement for COWI," said Lars-Peter Søbye, CEO in COWI who sees the agreement as a perfect match with numerous opportunities. "It is in line with our growth strategy and we look forward to welcoming Donaldson into COWI. We have complementary market coverage, and together we will be one of the world's leading engineering consultancies with a large, highly qualified, pool of specialists who are able to bring significant strength and expert skills to our customers around the globe."

COWI and Donaldsons have collaborated on various ground engineering projects in the past and have a working association. In annoucing the news, founder and Chairman of Donaldson Associates, David Donaldson, emphasised the importance of the acquisition for continuing the company's present growth as a centre of excellence in tunnelling, geotechnics and heavy civil engineering in the UK and the great opportunities presented to Donaldsons to accelerate growth internationally.

"The union between COWI and Donaldson Associates brings together two companies with shared values whose joint expertise and experience in engineering has created an expanded centre of design excellence," said Donaldson. "Our two companies have a remarkable cultural and strategic fit that has facilitated a seamless integration of Donaldsons into COWI’s widely acclaimed and highly respected international business profile. It gives me great personal satisfaction that all of Donaldsons’ staff and management structure has been absorbed unchanged into COWI’s established structure.”

As a leading engineering consultancy group, COWI has more than 6,100 employees located in some 100 branch offices around the world. The company utilises world-class competencies within engineering, economics and environmental science to create innovative and sustainable solutions for its customers. With its headquarters in Denmark, COWI has a strong presence in the Scandinavian and international transportation market and is recognised for its worldwide activities in bridge, immersed tube tunnelling and marine engineering.

In 2013, COWI strengthened its presence in the North American tunnelling market with the acquisition of Jenny Engineering of New Jersey, USA. With a staff of 30 engineering professionals, Jenny Engineering provides planning, design, and construction management services to the tunneling and mining industries. Earlier, in 2007, COWI acquired American coastal and marine engineering firm Ocean and Coastal Consultants as part of a strategy to expand its immersed tube tunnel expertise. Other acquisitions have included Danish geodata and advanced mapping specialist Kampsax (2002), and the company has also made acquisitions in the rail infrastructure sector.


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