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AMEC buys Canadian rival in pounds 221m deal.

Construction firm AMEC said yesterday it agreed to buy Canadian rival AGRA in a cash-and-shares deal worth pounds 221 million.

AMEC, whose design and build division is based at Stratford-upon-Avon, said the acquisition will further its ambitions to focus on the world of project management for construction, putting it third against competitors in that area like Bechtel Group and Fluor Daniel.

"AGRA is at the thinking end of the spectrum rather than the muddy boots end. That is the way we are trying to reposition the entire group," AMEC corporate affairs director Mr Tony Williams said.

However, there were six bigger construction companies in Europe alone, such as Germany's Philipp Holzmann, Sweden's Skanska and France's Ste Generale d'Entreprises.

The deal will boost AMEC's revenues from continuing operations to about pounds 3.8 billion compared with pounds 3.4 billion in 1998. It is also designed to improve AMEC's global reach into North America.

"This merger will advance dramatically the strategic objectives of our two groups," AMEC chief executive Mr Peter Mason said.

Analysts agreed the deal would help AMEC raise its North American profile and the global focus on the pharmaceuticals, oil and gas areas it is keen on.

Shares in AMEC reacted favourably to the purchase. They rose 3p or more than one per cent to 216p.

AMEC said AGRA generated revenue of pounds 556 million and operating income before exceptional items of pounds 23.9 million in the year ended July 31.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 17, 2000
Words:244
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