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Arcadis Mum on Decision to Counter Japanese Offer For UK Consultant Hyder

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Netherlands-based ARCADIS remains mum on a decision to counter a higher offer from Japan’s Nippon Koei to acquire Hyder Consulting plc., London.

The Tokyo-based firm appears to have outbid its Dutch rival with an Aug. 8 offer that is 4.6% more than the ARCADIS bid and that Hyder recommended favorably to shareholders.

That bid came eight days after Hyder had accepted Arcadis’s $430-million cash bid for all its shares. An ARCADIS spokesman told ENR on Aug. 11 there was no change in its Aug. 8 statement that the firm is “considering its position” and would announce its next step “in due course.”

Tokyo-based Nippon Koei Group ranks at No. 67 on ENR's list of The Top 150 Global Design Firms, with $514.8 million in 2013 worldwide engineering revenue, about $157.1 outside of Japan.

Arcadis ranks at No. 10 on that list, with $3.3 billion in global design revenue; Hyder ranks at No. 70.

The U.K. firm, with 52% of its $472 million in transportation, would boost capabilities for the Japanese bidder, which reported 27% of revenue in that sector.

"The Japanese have been trying to reenter the global E&C market in a bigger way after years of standing aside to the Koreans, and more recently to the Chinese," says one industry executive. "Japanese firms have been in the hunt for an acquisition for the last several years but without any notable successes in my view."

Meanwhile, British contractor Balfour Beatty rejected on Aug. 11 an overture from a smaller UK builder, Carillion, to renew acquisition talks.

The talks had broken down orginally late last month over Carillion's insistance that Balfour Beatty cancel its planned divestiture of New York City-based consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff, which it has owned since 2009.

Balfour Beatty said Carillion's new proposal still did not resolve the larger firm's concerns that continuing talks could deter the Parsons Brinckerhoff deal and hurt the U.S. firm's value

"In light of these considerations on the revised proposal, the Board has lost confidence in the likely delivery of a successful transaction and has therefore concluded that the current proposal from Carillion is not in the best interests of Balfour Beatty shareholders," said a Balfour Beatty statement. "With the Parsons Brinckerhoff sale process proceeding in line with the board's expectations, the board is clear that its current plans to refocus and simplify the Group, including the sale of Parsons Brinckerhoff, remains the most attractive option."

Chairman Steve Marshall said the focus will remain on "the future of a standalone Balfour Beatty," he told UK media. "We are very confident the plans we have got are going to take the company forward."

Under UK acquisition rules, Carillion has until Aug. 21 to reapproach Balfour Beatty.


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