Currie & Brown’s £29m takeover of rival consultant goes unconditional

Sweett will delist from the London stock exchange next month after its £29m takeover by rival consultant Currie & Brown was confirmed this morning.

Currie & Brown has purchased 89% of Sweett’s shares, taking it over the 75% threshold required to make the deal unconditional.

Middle East-owned Currie & Brown gazumped WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, which had looked set to takeover Sweett with a £24m bid in late May, only for this to be eclipsed by the higher Currie & Brown offer.

Sweett’s board of directors - including chief executive Douglas McCormick - will step down once the deal completes and the Sweett brand will be phased out.

WSP PB formally bowed out of the takeover battle in June, issuing a short statement to its investors saying it had “terminated efforts to acquire Sweett Group”.

Currie & Brown is a subsidiary of Middle East-based engineering giant the Dar Group, which also owns architect Perkins+Will.

As part of the takeover deal, Currie & Brown offered Sweett a £9.45m debt facility to replace borrowing facilities that expired on 8 July.

Currie & Brown had already acquired Sweett’s struggling Asia Pacific businesses in a deal agreed late last year and concluded in June. This purchase had been delayed by a disagreement between the two parties over the impact of currency fluctuations on the takeover price, which was resolved after a decision from an independent arbitration.

Currie & Brown’s bid at 42 pence a share represented an 83% premium on the 23 pence closing price of Sweett’s shares on 24 May prior to WSP PB’s bid.

Currie & Brown has said it believes cost savings can be made at Sweett, principally through delisting and cut-backs in property, back office and shared services. 

Sweett is expected to stop trading on the London stock exchange’s AIM exchange on 7 September.