Ricardo expands with £18m technology acquisition

AUTOMOTIVE consultancy Ricardo has completed the £18m acquisition of a leading technology business.

Ricardo, which has a large design facility in Leamington Spa, has taken over the business, operating assets and employees of AEA Technology, a subsidiary of AEA Technology Group.

The acquisition had been conditional upon the appointment of administrators to AEA Europe but this was concluded yesterday.

AEA Europe is a leading environmental consultancy providing technical consultancy services to the UK public sector, the European Commission, international agencies and private sector organisations. No historic defined benefit pension liabilities or bank debt will transfer to Ricardo as part of the transaction.

The deal sees Ricardo take on around 400 of AEA’s UK-based staff and it will provide Ricardo with an environmental consulting capability comprising strong global potential based on scientific and technical excellence.

Ricardo said the enlarged group would be uniquely positioned to advise on key strategic issues facing industry and governments worldwide.

The acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing in the current financial year and will be funded from Ricardo’s cash resources and bank facilities.
In the year ended March 31, 2012, the assets acquired generated revenue of £39m and an operating profit of £3.3m.

In a statement, Ricardo said: “Ricardo and AEA Europe share similar long term strategic drivers based on the environmental challenges of meeting increasing energy demand whilst reducing carbon emissions, maintaining air quality and managing scarce resources. The acquisition will bring together two strong and highly respected businesses with a history of the delivery of major national and international programmes.
“AEA Europe has a well-established track record of advising governments in the development of environmental legislation, which in turn underpins Ricardo’s technical engineering business. AEA Europe is a major supplier of services to the UK government across a range of government departments, most notably the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

“AEA Europe will add further strategic skills in the areas of deep legislative insight and economic analysis, and together AEA Europe and Ricardo are uniquely positioned to advise on key strategic issues facing industries and governments worldwide.”

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