Listed Consulting engineer Parkman has been taken private in a £10m management buyout, backed by six directors and led by former chairman Richard Archer.

The aim of the team is to grow the 1000-strong company through acquisitions in the transport, water and environment sectors, and by winning local authority best-value contracts. Archer, the new chief executive, said: “We have specific plans for an acquisition programme. We’re looking at a number of options and expect to have news later in the summer.”

The deal involved acquiring shares from about 700 shareholders, for which the directors raised £500 000. The balance was provided by the Gresham Trust, part of Zurich Financial Services.

Parkman has 10 UK offices and a further 17 in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Africa. Archer now predicts a sharp increase in staff numbers if Parkman is successful in its bids for local authority contracts, particularly in transport design and maintenance.

He added: “We believe best value will be very beneficial for this company. We’ve become one of the market leaders in the transportation arena, where the level of spending is rising.”