Company looks to expand into hospitality, retail and rail sectors

French consultant Artelia has bought UK consultant Appleyards, as part of a bid to more than quadruple its UK revenue to £20m-30m within four years.

Artelia’s £6m UK division completed the deal with £8m-turnover Appleyards on 6 March.

Artelia’s UK managing director Phil Brumby said the acquisition would help the division’s parent company - which has a turnover of £300m and 38 offices around the world - “achieve critical mass in the UK”.

The deal between the two partner-owned firms creates a 145-strong UK consultant.

Brumby said the deal would allow Artelia to offer a broader range of services in the UK.

Artelia’s UK division has, until now, worked entirely with the private sector, whereas 80% of Appleyard’s revenue is from the public sector.

Appleyards chief executive Colin Morrell said the tie-up would enable the UK consultant to export its expertise in infrastructure project financing and education consultancy into international markets where Artelia operates.

Three out of a total of 85 Appleyards staff - including Morrell - will immediately become partners at Artelia, although this number will rise to a “dozen” over the next couple of years.

Ten out of 60 Artelia UK staff are partners.

Morrell said the Appleyards brand would be phased out “at the right time”.

Artelia’s biggest clients in Europe are petrol giants Exxon and Shell and the firm is currently working on a pipeline to refurbish 250 Shell petrol stations in the UK. The company project manages the petrol station development programmes for both companies in Western Europe.

Brumby said the firm was targeting expansion in the hospitality, retail and rail sectors in the UK.

He added: “This deal increases the scope of services we can offer clients and reduces our reliance on any one sector.”