90-year-old Thomas & Adamson snapped up for undisclosed sum

Another UK consultant has been snapped up by an overseas rival with Edinburgh-based Thomas & Adamson bought by a £1.6bn turnover French firm.

Paris-headquartered Egis has paid an undisclosed sum for the Scottish QS and project manager which can trace its roots back to 1935 and last year had a turnover of around £14m.

Talks between the pair began at the start of last year with the deal being formally confirmed to T&A’s 120 staff in the UK and Middle East this morning.

T&A has three offices in the UK – Edinburgh, Glasgow and London – as well as two in the Middle East at Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Alastair Wallace

T&A senior partner Alastair Wallace said the deal meant the firm had a chance to grow at scale

The UK business employs just under 100 people and has an income of close to £12m. The remaining staff and revenue comes from its two bases in the Gulf.

The deal is the latest to see a UK firm taken over by an overseas rival which yesterday saw Canadian company Stantec announce it had bought Bristol-based engineer Hydrock for an undisclosed sum.

Other UK firms to fall to overseas raiders in recent years include T&T which is majority owned by US property giant CBRE and M&E engineer Hoare Lea bought by another American firm Tetra Tech.

Egis itself bought transport architect Weston Williamson, which designed the Elizabeth line station at Paddington, two years ago and already owns another architect with Scottish roots, the Hong Kong-based 10 Design having bought that business seven years ago.

Explaining why foreign firms were interested in UK consultants, T&A senior partner Alastair Wallace told Building: “The UK is seen in the property space as a market leader. The people and experience we have make it attractive for those overseas.”

He admitted the firm had rebuffed several approaches from suitors in the past before Egis made an initial move last year and said the deal for T&A meant Egis had now added a QS and PM arm to its operation for the first time.

Wallace, who has been at the business 24 years and its senior partner since 2013, said he will initially manage the integration between the two businesses before being moved into a wider role to grow its overseas work, especially in English-speaking countries.

Explaining the decision to sell, he said Egis had the financial clout to accelerate its growth plans.

“We could have stood still, gone for organic growth or tried something different. To do the latter requires significant investment and that was always going to be a challenge. We needed significant investment to compete with the bigger names. This deal gives us access to knowledge and specialisms.”

Wallace said T&A’s senior leadership team will remain along with its 120 staff although he admitted the name might disappear in certain instances. “We’ll do what’s right for the market,” he added.

Egis’s turnover last year was £1.63bn with the bulk of that coming from consulting and engineering.

It employs 19,500 people and its sectors include education, retail and hospitality. Its biggest region by turnover is France with 30% of revenue in 2023.