Listed UK engineer’s shares soar on takeover approach from SNC-Lavalin

Shares in Atkins have leapt 29% today after the UK engineer confirmed it was in talks with Canadian consultant SNC Lavalin over a possible £2bn takeover.

The Montreal-based firm has made an offer for Atkins - which last year posted revenue of £1.8bn and pre-tax profit of £131.1m - which the UK firm’s board said it was ready to recommend subject to certain conditions being agreed.

SNC Lavalin is involved in a range of infrastructure projects across the world, including developments in the North Sea, as well as the Timetable Advistory System for UK railways.

The Canadian firm turned over C$8.5bn (£5.1bn) in 2016, with 44% of its activity by sales in Canada, and 5% in Europe.

Sector-wise, almost half of the firm’s business is in oil and gas, while it also covers the infrastructure and power sectors.

SNC-Lavalin has until 1 May to make a firm offer.

Atkins, run by chief executive Uwe Krueger (pictured), added: “There can be no certainty that a firm offer will be made, nor as to the terms on which any firm offer might be made.”

Atkins and SNC Lavalin - how they size up

 AtkinsSNC Lavalin*
Pre-tax profit **£139m£152.7m
Earnings per share107.3p101.6p
Employee numbers18,05235,000

*SNC Lavalin financials translated as C$1.67 = £1

** SNC Lavalin shows net income attributable to shareholders

Year-ends - Atkins: March 2016; SNC Lavalin: December 2016