Binnies brand returns to water sector as RSK Group completes acquisitions of UK and Asia water businesses from Black & Veatch

January 18, 2021

→ Following an announcement in mid-December about the intent to purchase the UK and Asia water businesses from Black & Veatch, RSK has confirmed the completion of the acquisition.

→ The deal will see the renowned Binnies brand return to the water market.

→ 1,200 employees will now move into the RSK Group along with all contracts, assets and offices of the acquired entities.

RSK Group Limited (RSK) today confirmed that it has now completed the acquisition of Black & Veatch’s UK and Asia water businesses, following the announcement last December of its intent to purchase the companies.

The acquired businesses include UK-based Black & Veatch Limited, Black & Veatch Hong Kong Limited and Black & Veatch (SEA) Pte Limited in Singapore. These businesses will continue to provide sustainable and resilient water, wastewater and flood resilience projects, with existing management and employees, but under the returning brand Binnies.

The addition of Binnies will increase the overall RSK headcount from 4300 to 5500 employees worldwide and take its annual turnover from £287 million in 2020 to an anticipated almost £450 million in 2021. This is RSK’s tenth acquisition of FY20-21, each contributing to the business’s strategic growth plan. The RSK Group aims to provide clients an end-to-end offering by identifying business that will fit well into its existing family of companies and investing in them.

Binnies will advance RSK’s climate change agenda, strengthen its presence in the water sector, and expand its geographical reach. Meanwhile, RSK’s breadth as a reputable multidisciplinary group will give Binnies access to a wide range of complementary services in support of its existing offerings, and to a multitude of experienced and enthusiastic professionals across these disciplines.

Binnies services include water utility infrastructure, consulting and design services, construction management and commissioning services (with a focus on water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure) and flood and coastal defence planning and design, all of which will complement and expand RSK’s existing water services offering.

Strengthening its presence in the water sector is a key strategic aim for RSK. In 2020, the group acquired two companies in the sector: the UK-based Water Research Centre (WRc) and its 350 employees in August 2020, and Ireland-based water engineer Nicholas O’Dwyer and its 200 employees in March 2020.

Binnies will also expand the number of countries in which RSK is present from 27 to 31 and significantly add to RSK’s existing Asian footprint. Operations in Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam will be brought into the group, in addition to the Binnies’ offices throughout the UK.

RSK chief executive officer and founder, Alan Ryder, says:

“We are delighted to announce the completion of the acquisition of Black & Veatch’s UK and Asia water businesses – without doubt one of the most significant deals in RSKs history. We’re also pleased to be able to re-introduce the Binnies brand – one of the most famous names in British civil engineering.

“The acquisition marks a significant step in RSK’s 2025 growth plans and diversification ambitions: to become the largest privately owned environmental and engineering business in Europe; to turn over £1 billion annually; and employ 10,000 people.

“A key part of RSK’s climate agenda is to unleash the natural capital contained in clean water to help address and mitigate the flood risks that exist in so many parts of the world. Binnies will greatly enhance RSK’s ability to address climate change, green growth and water and sanitation services at a global level through applied engineering excellence.”

Managing Director of Binnies in Europe, Scott Aitken, says:

“Because of the environmental challenges we face, there is a need to find new and innovative ways to use fewer natural resources, produce less waste and contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, while making positive contributions to local ecosystems and surrounding communities. As climate change and biodiversity loss accelerate worldwide, water is becoming increasingly valuable. The acquisition by RSK will further strengthen our offering to clients.”

Managing Director of Binnies in Hong Kong, Andy Kwok, says:

“Our water business has a proud history of working on celebrated projects across the territory, notably the first reverse osmosis desalination plant in Hong Kong as well as sewage and water treatment works and flood protection. Such projects will stand RSK in good stead in terms of providing end-to-end services to clients in the region.”

Managing Director of Binnies in Singapore, William Yong, says:

“Black & Veatch (SEA) Pte Limited in Singapore actually previously operated as Binnie & Partners Singapore before its purchase by Black and Veatch. The acquisition by RSK not only means a return to this respected brand but will mean continued unrivalled engineering services in the water and wastewater sector to many countries in the region.”

The deal includes all the employees, contracts, leases and other assets of these entities.

The completed deal comes days after RSK announced the acquisitions of Amphos 21, the environmental consulting firm, and stand-by power specialists, Pharos Generator Services and Field Engineering Services.