Ambitious strategies in the East follow Arcadis’ purchase of DLS

Three of the UK’s largest consultants - Turner & Townsend, Sweett Group and Gleeds - are aiming to almost double the size of their Asian operations within three years, Building can reveal.

The news comes a week after Arcadis announced expansion in the region with the acquisition of the former Asia division of Davis Langdon, £79m-turnover Davis Langdon & Seah (DLS).

Turner & Townsend’s £13m-turnover Asia division is targeting 25-30% revenue growth a year over at least the “medium term”, its Asia managing director Duncan Stone said.

If the division meets its growth targets, it will double its turnover to at least £25m within three years.

Stone said T&T’s rate of growth in Asia could “accelerate if we are successful with mergers and acquisitions” and said the firm was in a “strong commercial position” to secure deals.

He added the firm was looking particularly at M&A options in India, China and north-east Asia generally, areas where the firm “wants to grow very quickly”.

Sweett Group is planning to almost double income from its combined Asia and Australasia division from £25m to £40m within three years.

Sweett chief executive Dean Webster said the expansion would be achieved through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

Sweett sees particular growth opportunities for its Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand businesses and is also exploring how to establish a presence in South Korea, Indonesia and Cambodia.

Gleeds chief executive Richard Steer said there was “almost exponential” potential for the firm in Asia, which is aiming to double its £6m-turnover Asian business within three years.

Arcadis, Aecom and Rider Levett Bucknall also said they expected their Asian businesses to grow, but did not disclose targets.

UK QS Faithful + Gould said it was aiming to grow its Asian division by 20% in the next three to four years, but declined to disclose turnover figures.

Webster said consultants could not afford to delay if they wanted to enter the Asian market.

He said: “It’s a maturing market […] it’s going to be quite difficult for people who aren’t established to enter that market now.”

Analysts this week valued Arcadis’ DLS takeover at £90m-100m, based on the published increase in the Dutch engineer’s debt following the transaction.

Arcadis would not comment on this figure.

For full story see Building’s news analysis


Asian turnover today

T&T: £13m
Sweett*: £25m
Gleeds: £6m

Asian turnover target in three years

T&T: £25m

Sweett*: £40m

Gleeds: £12m

* Figures are for Sweett Group’s combined Asia and Australasia division