EBJ News for February 25, 2017

Satellite specialist CLS acquires Woods Hole Group
CLS (Toulouse, France), a satellite services specialist and subsidiary of the French Space Agency (CNES), ARDIAN investment, and the oceanographic institution IFREMER, has acquired Woods Hole Group (East Falmouth, Mass.). Woods Hole Group is focused on sustainable and resilient solutions for coastal sciences and engineering, applied ecology, oceanography, and measurement systems. By acquiring Woods Hole Group, CLS, which specializes in environmental monitoring, says it will be positioned to offer complete solutions including field equipment and services, data analysis, modeling, environmental assessment, and more. Woods Hole employs nearly 50 people and had 2016 sales approaching $10 million. CLS had turnover of $120 million in 2016, with $135 million forecast for 2017.

Layne Christensen to sell Heavy Civil business and focus on water businesses
Layne Christensen Company (The Woodlands, Texas) announced a definitive agreement to sell its Heavy Civil business to a newly formed entity owned by private investors, including members of the Heavy Civil senior management team. The sale is approximately $10.1 million, consisting of at least $6.4 million in cash. Michael J. Caliel, president and CEO of Layne, commented, “The closing of this transaction enables us to focus on our core water-related businesses and reduce our risk exposure to large construction projects, while also positioning Layne to improve its profitability in a growing water and water infrastructure industry.”

GTI expands energy efficiency portfolio with acquisition of Frontier
GTI International (GTII, Des Plaines, Ill.), a subsidiary of Gas Technology Institute (GTI), has acquired Frontier Associates LLC (Austin, Texas), a professional services firm. Established in 1999, Frontier provides energy efficiency and water conservation support, engineering and technical consulting, market research, and software solutions to utilities nationwide. “Frontier Associates is a regional market leader in energy efficiency initiatives, and their qualifications and activities complement the work being done by our California subsidiaries…. Their capabilities, client relationships, and location are a fantastic fit as we look to provide solutions to our clients and members in the south central area of the country,” said Ron Snedic, president and senior VP of corporate development at GTII.

HDR celebrates centennial
HDR (Omaha, Neb.) marked the company’s 100th anniversary at its annual meeting in February, to be followed by a series of celebrations and community service events throughout the year. HDR started as a civil engineering firm: “Early on, that meant creating the water, sewer, road and electric systems that modernized rural communities. Today, it means designing sustainable infrastructure and human-centered healthcare, justice and educational facilities. It also means dealing with changes such as mapping out strategies for coastal resiliency and understanding the ramifications of driverless cars,” HDR stated. George A. Little, HDR chairman and CEO, noted that the company’s move to employee ownership in 1996 was key in strengthening HDR’s culture. At the time it was part of a very large firm that had different priorities: “The buyback allowed us to rediscover the identity that made us successful for so many years, by renewing focus on our employees’ special talents.” The HDR Foundation will also issue $100,000 in special anniversary grants to mark the centennial.

Thames Water Utilities awards contract to Jacobs
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Dallas) has been selected by Thames Water Utilities Limited in the United Kingdom to provide engineering and environmental consultancy services for the remainder of its existing Asset Management Program (AMP6) operating until 2020. Under the framework agreement, in addition to engineering work, Jacobs’ environmental scope includes strategic planning for drought and water resources management; outcomes and performance commitments measurement and optimization; odor and environmental impact assessments; ecological surveys; flow monitoring; water quality sampling; project management; and support to Thames Water as it interfaces with regulators and stakeholders. Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and wastewater services provider. An investment of $5 billion between 2015 and 2020 is planned across its asset base.

Jacobs reports earnings for first quarter of Fiscal 2017
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Dallas) reported U.S. GAAP net earnings of $61 million on revenue of $2.6 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 ended December 30, 2016. This compares to U.S. GAAP net earnings of $47 million on revenues of $2.8 billion for the first quarter ended January 1, 2016. Excluding restructuring items, Jacobs’ first quarter 2017 adjusted net earnings totaled $83 million, compared to $95 million from the corresponding period for 2016. Total backlog was $18.1 billion at December 30, 2016, including a professional services component of $12.2 billion. Steve Demetriou, Jacobs’ chairman and CEO, said, “This quarter marked our transition from nearly two years of significant cost restructuring and organizational realignment to a priority focus on profitable top-line growth…. The continuing growth in our higher margin professional services backlog, the largest reported in 21 months, demonstrates the benefits of our disciplined approach on leveraging synergies across the company to drive more profitable work. Additionally, this success in winning front end engineering opportunities positions us well for full service delivery in subsequent phases of the projects.”

US Ecology reports 2016 results
US Ecology Inc. (Boise, Idaho) reported total revenue for 2016 of $477.7 million compared to $563.1 million in 2015. (2015 included $59.1 million of revenue for the divested Allstate business.) Environmental Services (ES) segment revenue was $337.8 million for 2016, down from $359 million in 2015 on a 30% decline in Event Business, partially offset by a 2% increase in Base Business. This decline consisted of a 5% decrease in T&D revenue and a 9% reduction in transportation revenue compared to 2015. “Growth in our Environmental Services segment Base Business is projected to improve from 2016 levels, growing between 3-5% in 2017,” said Jeff Feeler, chairman and CEO. “We also expect that our Environmental Services segment Event Business will return to growth in 2017 as we receive volume from multi-year projects currently under contract, the growing pipeline of new opportunities and the commencement of projects deferred from last year.”

US solar market grows 95% in 2016
Previewing data from the upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA) reported that the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record in 2016 with 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed. This represents a 95% increase over the previous record of 7,493 MW installed in 2015. For the first time U.S. solar ranked as the leading source of new electric generating capacity additions on an annual basis, accounting for 39% of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016. The increase was driven largely by the utility-scale segment, up 145% from 2015, “primarily due to solar’s cost-competitiveness with natural-gas alternatives,” according Cory Honeyman, GTM Research’s associate director of U.S. solar. The non-residential market also exceeded expectations, driven by community solar, adding a record total of more than 200 MW, led by Minnesota and Massachusetts, and rate design and net energy metering, which fueled project development and installation growth across a number of major state markets, most notably in California.

Waste Management reports annual revenues of $13.6 billion
Waste Management Inc. (Houston) announced revenues of $13.6 billion for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared with $13.0 billion for 2015. For the full year 2016 income from operations was $2.30 billion compared to $2.05 billion, or $2.19 billion on an as-adjusted basis, for 2015. Jim Fish, president and CEO, commented, “In 2016 we continued our focus on core price, disciplined volume growth, and cost control. Our results in each of these areas exceeded our expectations, which led to operating EBITDA growth of 8.1% on an as-adjusted basis.” Overall revenue increased by 5%, or $648 million. Acquisitions, net of divestitures, contributed $238 million of revenue growth for the year. Recycling yield and volume also increased $60 million.

City of Jackson signs Veolia to operate wastewater treatment facilities
The city of Jackson, Miss. has signed a 10-year operations and management agreement with Veolia Water North America-South LLC, a part of Veolia Environnement (Veolia, Paris, France). Veolia Water will be responsible for operating Jackson’s three wastewater treatment facilities (Savanna, Trahon, and Presidential Hills) with a combined design capacity of approximately 125 million gallons per day. Veolia personnel also will assume responsibility for 98 pumping stations and sludge disposal. The company and its personnel will support planning objectives for capital improvements, maintenance requirements, and policy and regulatory efforts.

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