Ricardo acquires AEA Europe

Ricardo has announced today that it has acquired the business, operating assets and employees engaged in the business of AEA Technology Plc (in administration) (“AEA Europe”), for a total cash consideration of £18.0 million. No historic defined benefit pension liabilities or bank debts will transfer to Ricardo as part of the transaction.

AEA Europe is a leading environmental consultancy providing technical consultancy services to the UK public sector, the European Commission, international agencies and private sector organizations. The company is a major supplier of services to the UK government, and has a reputation for providing authoritative and independent technical expertise to underpin policy development, implementation and evaluation, in areas including energy and climate change, air quality, sustainable transport, waste management, resource efficiency and chemical risk.

The acquisition announced today will see the AEA Europe business, including an operational staff of approximately 400 located at five UK sites, transferring to Ricardo where it will operate as Ricardo-AEA under the continued leadership of Robert Bell, reporting to Martin Fausset, managing director of Ricardo UK. Based on its most recent reported results, the assets being acquired generated, for the year ended 31 March 2012, annual revenues of £39 million and delivered operating profit margins similar to those of the rest of the Ricardo group. Its acquisition represents an increase in the size of the business of approximately 20 percent.

Today’s announcement marks a significant and extremely positive step in the development of both the Ricardo and AEA Europe businesses, offering potential long-term and enduring benefits for customers, employees and investors alike. Ricardo and AEA are both extremely strong and highly respected businesses in their respective core markets, providing a wide range of high quality, expert technical, scientific and strategic consulting services including the delivery of major national and international programmes.

The clients of Ricardo and AEA Europe are complementary. It is anticipated that Ricardo’s international network will allow AEA Europe to develop as a more global business, leveraging Ricardo’s industrial client base. In addition, AEA Europe’s strong links with government organizations are expected to enhance Ricardo’s relationships in this customer area.

“I’m delighted to be able to welcome AEA Europe and its employees to Ricardo,” said Ricardo CEO Dave Shemmans. “AEA Europe has a strong reputation for its technical capabilities and has a pre-eminent position in advising on and developing major environmental policies. This acquisition supports our ongoing strategy and marks the continued development of Ricardo as the global multi-industry supplier for high quality strategic, technical and engineering services.

“The two businesses share a similar technology-focused professional culture, based on the delivery of innovative world class services to our customer base, utilizing highly skilled employees. Our common long term strategic drivers of reducing carbon emissions, maintaining air quality and the management of scarce resources provide an excellent opportunity to further develop Ricardo’s expertise in delivering high value-added services to our global customer base.”

Robert Bell, managing director of Ricardo-AEA, added: “I am extremely pleased that AEA Europe has become part of Ricardo. The transaction both secures the future for AEA Europe and provides a platform for its continued success and growth as a part of the global Ricardo organization.”

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