Partners vote overwhelmingly in favour of takeover by Dutch engineer

Partners at EC Harris yesterday voted overwhelmingly to approve the planned takeover by Dutch engineering giant Arcadis.

The UK consultant’s 183 partners voted in favour of the deal, revealed by Building last month, with 99.5% agreeing to the proposals. The vote was the only significant remaining hurdle for the proposed merger to overcome, and leaves the two firms are set to formally combine by 4 November.

The merger will create a 19,000-strong consultant with revenues of £2.3bn and offices in 28 countries. The vote comes despite criticism from some quarters, including rival Gleeds, that clients are concerned about cost consultants losing their independence by merging with large engineering firms.

EC Harris chief executive Philip Youell said the practice had seen an overwhelmingly positive response to the merger from customers and staff since it was announced in October. He said: “This vote reflects the response we’ve  had both from clients and our people, in particular the idea that we will continue as a trading company limited liability partnership as EC Harris beneath the combined firm.”

In a statement released alongside the news of the vote, Noy said he welcomed the “strength of the EC Harris brand and the leadership they bring to Arcadis.”

Noy said he was “extremely pleased” by the vote. “I truly believe that the leadership position our combined firms have in project management and related consultancy services offers genuine opportunities for expansion in key emerging markets.”