EBJ News For April 11, 2017

AECOM to sell equity stake in first AECOM Capital investment
AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.) has announced that AECOM Capital Investments will sell its equity interest in its first investment. “This is an important milestone, and the first of what we expect to be many successful returns from our AECOM Capital investments,’’ said Michael S. Burke, AECOM’s chairman and chief executive officer. “In tandem with our partners, we successfully developed high-value real estate, leveraging both our equity capital and construction services. This effort further validates our design, build, finance and operate vision.’’ Since launching AECOM Capital in 2013, AECOM has committed approximately $200 million in 15 projects with total development value in excess of $3.5 billion. Projects primarily include multifamily, condo, hotel, office, and mixed use assets. AECOM Capital is seeking to expand into public private partnerships and the industrial and power markets. In addition to providing equity, AECOM delivers design and construction services.

TRC acquires CALTROP
TRC Companies, Inc. (Lowell, Mass.) has acquired CALTROP Corp. (Riverside, Calif.) in an all-cash transaction. Caltrop brings 170 total employees providing engineering, construction management, and inspection services to customers in the transportation infrastructure market. Financial terms were not disclosed. “The acquisition of Caltrop will enable TRC to capitalize on the growing opportunities for construction management and construction engineering inspection services in California, New York, Florida and Texas, particularly for large public works and transportation projects,” said Chris Vincze, TRC’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Caltrop has been providing professional program, project, and construction management consulting services since 1988. Besides Riverside, it has locations in Irvine, Sacramento, and San Diego, as well as Jacksonville, Fla., New York City, and Shanghai.

TerraTherm expands thermal remediation services by acquiring Global Remediation Solutions
TerraTherm (Gardner, Mass.) has acquired Global Remediation Solutions (GRS), a specialist in electrical resistance heating (ERH) which has been involved in some of the most complex ERH projects completed to date, according to TerraTherm. GRS designs, installs, and operates remediation solutions targeting challenging site conditions and recalcitrant contaminants. In addition to large-scale in situ thermal remediation projects, GRS offers ERH solutions for dry cleaner contaminated sites. GRS also provides air movement technologies for both in situ and ex situ remediation, including soil vapor extraction, dual vapor extraction, multi-phase extraction, air sparging, recirculation wells, vapor intrusion systems, bio-venting and bio-slurping, and hot-air injection. “The GRS smart ERH technology coupled with our large fleet of treatment systems and process engineering capability is unique among thermal vendors,” said John Bierschenk, president and co-founder of TerraTherm.

Tersus Environmental licenses patent for ISCR technology
Tersus Environmental LLC (Wake Forest, N.C.) and Provectus Environmental Products Inc. (Freeport, Ill.) have executed an agreement granting Tersus a non-exclusive sublicense to U.S. patents of Innovative Environmental Technologies Inc. (IET). Tersus will develop and commercialize products for in situ chemical reduction. Provectus is the exclusive licensee of IET patents that provide a method for accelerated anaerobic dechlorination of subsoil matter by supplying a mixture including a zero valent metal into soil pathways to biologically react with the dissolved chlorinated solvents in the groundwater, and by supplying an organic hydrogen donor into the soil pathways to produce dechlorinating conditions such that indigenous anaerobic bacteria biodegrade residual concentrations of chlorinated solvents. “This license agreement with Provectus enables us to further expand our family of products for chlorinated solvent remediation,” said Tersus’ Managing Partner Gary Birk.

SNC-Lavalin makes offer for Atkins
A bidding war could be in the offing after WS Atkins (Epsom, UK) received a recent $2.6 billion offer from SNC-Lavalin (Quebec, Canada), according to news reports that predicted other firms will also make a play for the British engineering firm. Atkins was in talks with CH2M earlier this year. Analysts from the brokerage and research firm Liberum (London) noted three large-scale acquisitions in the consulting engineering arena that were competitively bid in recent years: Currie & Brown won Sweett against WSP in June in 2016; WSP won Parsons Brinckerhoff against Atkins in October 2014; and Arcadis won Hyder against Nippon Koei in August 2014. WS Atkins is involved in Crossrail, the UK’s HS2 high speed rail network, and design of the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station. SNC-Lavalin bought publicly traded engineer Kentz for £1.2 billion in 2014.

River City Engineering brings water/wastewater expertise to Trihydro
Trihydro Corporation (Laramie, Wyo.), a national provider of environmental and engineering services, has acquired consulting firm River City Engineering. The acquisition supports Trihydro’s expansion into Texas. River City specializes in water and wastewater services, in addition to street and drainage design services for clients in Central Texas. These specialties will strengthen Trihydro’s civil, infrastructure, water and wastewater engineering, planning, restoration, development, and protection services locally and nationwide. River City’s locations in Austin and New Braunfels, Texas, bring Trihydro’s network of offices to 20 nationwide. Trihydro also recently opened an office in Amarillo. Trihydro is a national consulting firm that tackles complex engineering and environmental challenges.

Lu Engineers acquired by Cletus O. Ezenwa
Lu Engineers PC (Rochester, N.Y.) has been acquired by Cletus O. Ezenwa, PE. Lu Engineers will continue to offer environmental, civil, and transportation engineering, along with construction inspection, and will expand by adding bridge condition inspection to its portfolio. The firm will nearly double its workforce to over 40. Ezenwa will serve as CEO and manage the bridge inspection department. Previous owners or partners of the firm will remain as members of the board of directors and continue to practice their respective specialties. The additional employees joining the firm are transitioning from Prudent Engineering LLP, where Ezenwa was one of two founding partners; he recently sold his shares to the remaining partner. “Merging with Cletus provides the opportunity to increase market share and expand into new locations and sectors…. Cletus shares our vision and values and has already proven to be a successful leader in our profession. His legacy will be an important part of our combined company,” said R. Scott Prior, president of Lu Engineers.

PDR Engineers Joins SMEC in Australia
Australian consultancy PDR Engineers (Cairns, Queensland) has joined SMEC (Melbourne, Victoria), enhancing PDR’s engineering capabilities and strengthening SMEC’s presence in northern Australia. PDR Engineers provides structural, civil, geotechnical, and mining engineering services. The company has broad experience across a number of sectors including resources engineering, public infrastructure, community structures, water, sewerage, roads, drainage, and other municipal infrastructure. PDR’s current directors, Peter De Roma and Terry Medhurst, will continue to provide management of PDR’s client base and will form part of the SMEC management team. This is SMEC’s first acquisition since SMEC joined Surbana Jurong in August 2016.

ACCIONA to acquire Geotech in Australia
ACCIONA (Madrid, Spain), a publicly traded company in the development and management of infrastructure, renewable energy and water, has announced it will acquire Geotech, an Australian engineering and construction group in a deal that values Geotech at AUS $262 million. The deal will enable ACCIONA to accelerate expansion into a market it sees as having great potential for infrastructure development and involves a cash payment of AUS $197 million. Three key Geotech executives will receive a stake in a new subsidiary, ACCIONA Geotech Holding. The new company will integrate Geotech and ACCIONA’s future pipeline of construction projects in Australia. ACCIONA Construction will control 82.4% of the new subsidiary. The deal seeks to build upon ACCIONA Construction’s and Geotech’s complementary businesses, and to create a platform that can respond to demand for infrastructure in the Australian market, estimated at AUS $125 billion over the next decade. ACCIONA has been operating in Australia since 2002.

Amec Foster Wheeler secures £125 million nuclear agreement with EDF Energy
Amec Foster Wheeler (London, UK). has announced an agreement worth £125 million to provide long-term support to EDF Energy Nuclear Generation. Under the Technical Support Alliance 3 (TSA3) agreement, the global engineering consultancy will continue its operational support for the UK reactor fleet, which began more than 50 years ago. Amec Foster Wheeler expects the contract to generate annual revenue of between £25- £30 million; the five-year agreement has an option to extend for a further five years. The contract win comes shortly after the firm announced a £2.2 billion takeover by John Wood Group plc.

U.S. rig count grows 77% year over year in March
Platts RigData (Houston), a forecasting and analysis unit of S&P Global Platts, has announced the U.S. rig count for the natural gas and oil markets in March 2017 was 901, up 67 (8%) from February 2017 and up 391 (77%) from March 2016. This rig count includes U.S. onshore, U.S. inland waters, and U.S. offshore Gulf of Mexico drilling rigs. The March U.S. land rig count was 852, up 399 from March 2016. March U.S. inland waters and Gulf of Mexico rig count was 49, up 6 from the previous month and down 8 from March 2016. S&P Global Platts provides information and benchmark prices for the commodities and energy markets.

California approves strategy to reduce super pollutants
California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved a strategic blueprint to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including some of the most potent greenhouse gases in the world, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The approved SLCP Strategy outlines essential measures to reduce HFCs that ARB will examine as it drafts new regulations to meet the state’s 2030 emission targets. “Finalizing this strategy is an important step forward at a time when California’s leadership is needed more than ever,” said Christina Starr, a climate policy analyst with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “We hope ARB will expedite the new rulemaking process, and urge the agency to remain steadfast in setting global warming potential thresholds low enough for proposed equipment bans to be most effective, which will encourage uptake of the most climate friendly refrigerants.” According to EIA, if California meets its goal, it will see about as much emissions reductions from HFCs in 2030 as from shutting 12 coal fired power plants; the plan would also have cascading effects for producers, importers, distributors, manufacturers, contractors, and consumers beyond the state. HFC emissions are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases globally.

Black & Veatch to serve solar developments for FP&L
Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kan.) will provide engineering, procurement, and construction services for four solar developments for Florida Power & Light (FPL). The Barefoot Bay, Blue Cypress, and Loggerhead solar plants are being constructed in the Vero Beach area, while the Hammock plant will be built just east of Fort Myers. The project sites range from 400 to 600 acres with a combined total of more than 1 million solar panels to be installed, and will begin operations by the end of 2017. The four are part of the eight solar projects FPL announced it will build, each with a capacity of 74.5 MW. Black & Veatch built three 74.5 MW solar developments for FPL in 2016, which tripled the utility’s solar capacity.

Report says cities must act now to shape a driverless future
A study by transportation, economics, and urban planning experts has found that ridesharing and ridesourcing services using autonomous vehicles (AV) could shift millions of drivers away from personal cars in major U.S. cities. “Driverless Future: A Policy Roadmap for City Leaders,” a study prepared by Arcadis, HR&A Advisors, and Sam Schwartz Consulting, shows that the move to ridesharing and ridesourcing services that don’t have a driver could cause a shift of up to 60% (3.6 million cars) from traditional to autonomous vehicles in the New York metro area alone over the next 15-20 years. The Los Angeles metro area could see a shift of up to 44% (2.2 million cars), and the Dallas-Ft.Worth metro area a shift of up to 31% (nearly 1 million cars). To help cities prepare for such profound changes in daily life, Arcadis, HR&A Advisors, and Sam Schwartz Consulting are offering a policy road map for complex issues related to autonomous vehicles and their potential impact on equity, public transit, parking, land use, and real estate development.

 

To find out more about the Environmental Industry, download the EBJ Vol XXX No 5 & 6 which discusses the 2017 Global Environmental Industry.