Multidisciplinary engineer WSP has announced that it wants to buy parts of rival Symonds.

WSP managing director Chris Cole said: “I made enquiries to Symonds three weeks ago and am still waiting to hear back.” Cole said WSP was interested in Symonds’ facilities management business and its transportation arm.

However, the facilities management arm is not for sale, as Symonds’ French parent Dalkia is taking over the firm’s 250 FM staff.

But the 30-strong transportation business, which includes the well-regarded traffic planning and airport development teams, may be the subject of a sale. Symonds engineering and surveying businesses, as well as its much smaller project management arm Woolf, are also thought to be negotiable.

However, WSP’s bid may be thwarted by a management buyout. A source within the company said there was great interest in a buyout.

The source revealed that Symonds, which has a turnover of £70m a year, may be sold for as little as £5m.