PBSJ has a turnover of £518m and employs around 3,500 people in the States

Atkins has agreed to buy US consultant PBSJ in a deal worth £178million. The announcement comes just days after it was reported that Atkins was in redundancy talks with ‘several hundred’ staff in it highways and transport divisions.

PBSJ is based in Florida and provides engineering, planning, architecture, construction, environmental and programme management services. It has more than 80 offices in the US and employs around 3,500 people. In the year to 30 September 2009 had a turnover of £518m.

According to Atkins the acquisition will help balance its geographic presence, provide a strong platform for growth and supplement its technical skills.

Chief executive Keith Clarke said, “This is an important acquisition for Atkins and forms part of our plan to grow our business through a multi-skill, multi-local strategy.”

“PBSJ operates a business model we understand and complements our business superbly, enhancing our skills in environmental, transportation, building design and programme management disciplines”.

PBSJ operates a business model we understand

Keith Clarke

The announcement comes on the same day that Atkins announced an interim management statement where it said trading in the first quarter of the year was in line with expectations.

The group’s water business has seen an improvement in workload with UK water companies starting to commit to new work. Its energy business is also performing well with a recent win on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor programme.

However the UK building design business has been impacted by project cancellation under the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Work in the Middle East is making steady progress with increasing signs of opportunities, although there is uncertainty around start dates.