Quantity surveyor Currie & Brown is on the verge of extending its presence in the Middle Eastern market by buying a consultancy firm based in Dubai.

The move has come as the practice also looks to acquire small firms in the UK to alleviate its skills shortages.

The firm’s chairman Angus McLean would not be drawn on details of the Dubai acquisition, but said the deal was “75% complete”. He added that talks were continuing and that the practice concerned also had an office in Muscat, Oman.

The acquisition would complement Currie & Brown’s office in the United Arab Emirates.

McLean said that the UK consultancy sector was suffering acute skills and recruitment problems and that a strategy of acquiring smaller practices was being used in addition to the company’s graduate recruitment programme.

He added: “We are also bringing in professionals from abroad. One example is that we have begun to bring in staff from India. This was at the request of one of our major clients.” He said the workers were being paid competitive salaries and that employing the best qualified staff remained the biggest challenge for the sector.

We are recruiting from abroad – we have begun to bring in staff from India

Angus McLean, chairman, Currie & Brown

Currie & Brown has recently won a consulting role on a major project to build an orbital road, called the M30, around Madrid as part of its global expansion drive under new chief executive Euan McEwan. The client for the project is a joint venture comprising three banks, Société Générale, Dexia Sabadell and Caja Madrid.

McEwan, who joined from infrastructure group AWG last year, said recently that the firm would grow geographically in the regions that offered the best opportunities. The firm currently has offices in the UK, mainland Europe, Africa, Australia, India, China, Japan, USA and Mexico.

McLean: Dubai deal is ‘75% complete’

It is also understood Babtie director Jim Ratliffe has joined Currie & Brown’s operations board.

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