British multinational engineering firm buys into East Africa

British global engineering and consulting firm, Atkins PLC, has announced its acquisition of Howard Humphreys East Africa Limited Group, one of the leading consulting engineering companies based in Kenya and Tanzania.

Atkins had over the years worked with Howard Humphreys on a number of projects thus cementing the bond between the two organisations. This move by Atkins is its first major foothold in Africa and a step for it to expand into the continent where the demand for infrastructure and engineering works is still greater than the supply.

The transaction is expected to be completed within three months with the value undisclosed.

Prof Uwe Krueger, Atkins’ chief executive officer, while speaking about the acquisition noted that Africa offered a huge demand for world class engineering services due to the investment pouring into the continent. “Africa is experiencing major investment in transportation, infrastructure and energy, presenting strong demand for world-class multidisciplinary design and consultancy services. This acquisition provides an excellent platform from which to develop our presence in the region and is in line with our strategy of targeted expansion into new geographies,” he said.

Corroborating Kruger’s statement, Kanwal Syan, managing director, Howard Humphreys, observed that the continent offered opportunities for engineering services. “We’re extremely excited to become part of Atkins. The opportunities in East Africa are immense. As part of Atkins, our existing and new clients will have access to the full breadth of the Group’s expertise, so there’s no limit to what we can achieve together,” he said.

Howard Humphreys has been operating in East Africa since 1931, supporting clients across the infrastructure market in the region. Recent projects completed by it include the new airport terminals at the international airports in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam; as well as geothermal power projects in Kenya for the Kenya Electricity Generating Company and independent power producers.

Paul Shepherd-Smith is expected to lead Atkins’ operations in Africa as part of an enlarged Middle East & Africa (ME&A) business, the company said on its website.

“We know from long experience that in order to achieve sustainable success in any market, we need to have a strong presence on the ground. This gives us local knowledge and enables us to build close relationships with our clients based on the excellent reputation of both Howard Humphreys locally and Atkins internationally. Atkins has worked closely with the Howard Humphrey’s team for many years, and this acquisition is therefore absolutely the right move for our Group’s growth strategy in Africa,” said Atkins Middle East and Africa Chief Executive Simon Moon.