Global real estate firm to acquire Manchester construction consultants

From left: Sascha Hempel (partner, Drees & Sommer), Ken Wood, Michel da Hann

A German real estate consulting company has taken an initial minority stake in Manchester-based AA Projects, with the aim of completing the 100% acquisition of the firm by the end of 2023, for an undisclosed sum.

Drees & Sommer has undertaken the move with an eye to expanding throughout the UK and Ireland to meet demand for project and cost management expertise.

The partnership means Drees & Sommer will now be able to service clients across seven locations in the UK, including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Oxford.

Construction consultants AA Projects employs 200 staff and will join forces with Drees & Sommer from this month.

Drees & Sommer has 46 locations in Europe, the Middle East, China and the Asia Pacific, with more than 4,000 employees worldwide and an annual turnover of £429.8m in 2020.

It has a strong client base in sectors like automotive, ICT, life sciences and property companies, with clients including household names such as Mercedes, Siemens, Nokia, Roche and BMW.

AA Projects works across a raft of sectors including the education, residential and healthcare industries. Historic and current clients include DHL, Starwood Capital Group, UK Parliament, University of Manchester, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Oxford.

Steffen Szeidl, Drees & Sommer CEO, said: “We already have two offices in the UK, but our investment in AA Projects will provide significant opportunities to expand our UK business.

“With this merger, our clients will gain the best of both worlds – the German heritage for quality, precision and engineering combined with the UK’s reputation for flair and innovation in a respected regulated environment.

“This will cement our position as a leader in sustainability and digitisation, providing opportunities for clients on both sides of the Channel and further afield.”

Kenneth Wood, managing director, AA Projects, said: “This partnership will provide us with the springboard to expand in existing sectors and markets in the UK where we already have an excellent reputation.

“It will also enable us to combine our strong public sector expertise with Drees & Sommer’s high reputation in the private sector, not only in mainland Europe but across the world. Drees & Sommer has a set of values and a vision aligned with our own, together with the opportunity to provide long term stability, growth for our business and career progression for our people. We are excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Michel De Haan, partner, Drees & Sommer said: “We have already delivered successful projects in energy-efficient and zero carbon buildings across Europe and our smart and energy-plus HQ in Stuttgart is a benchmark in cutting edge technological and ecological solutions.

“We are keen to bring our know how in Taxonomy and ESG to the English-speaking markets and to find new partners who will benefit from our expertise to create buildings that are ready for a rapidly evolving built environment.”