Surbana Jurong buys Australian engineering consultancy

04 December 2017 3 min. read

One of Asia’s largest existing urban, industrial, and infrastructure engineering consultancy firms, the Singapore-based Surbana Jurong Group, has entered into a sales and purchase agreement with the Robert Bird Group of Australia, continuing its string of recent acquisitions in a bid to further strengthen its urban development capabilities and expand its global reach.

In operation since 1982, and with a staff of 500 spread across offices in Australia, the UK, UAE and Southeast Asia, the Robert Bird Group (RBG) has developed a strong reputation for its engineering expertise, having provided services for several prominent public projects including the Westfield Shopping Centre in London, Dubai’s ICD Brookfield Place Tower, and the extensive Darling Harbour Live redevelopment in Sydney.

Wong Heang Fine, Group Chief Executive Officer of Surbana Jurong, said of the deal, ‘Surbana Jurong Group’s growth strategy is about deepening our core capabilities and extending our market reach. RBG will (continue this), both in design and construction engineering. Such advanced engineering skill sets will strengthen our advantage in competing for and securing sophisticated and complex developments.'

He added, ‘Since its formation in mid-2015, Surbana Jurong Group has tripled in size, both in terms of talent base as well as in revenue. The Group’s growth has been both organic as well as through acquisitions and partnerships. Leveraging our partner companies’ strengths allows us to tap into key growth sectors. At the same time, it provides a platform to take our urban planning, coastal engineering, township and other capabilities global.'The company has demonstrated its commitment to this strategy in recent years, targeting enterprises to broaden its scope of service capabilities and extend its geographical presence. The latest purchase follows up on its 2015 additions of Singapore engineering company KTP Consultants and Chinese design firm Sinosun Architects & Engineering, and hot on the heels of last year’s acquisition of infrastructure specialists SMEC (also of Australia) in a deal worth S$400 million.

At the time of the SMEC purchase, the entities were believed to have a combined 10,000-strong workforce covering 42 countries throughought the Asia-Pacific, Middle East, Africa and the Americas with an estimated revenue of S$1.1 billion, projected by Surbana Jurong to reach S$1.5 billion in annual consultancy fees by end of last year, and with a view of up to double that in growth within the next three to five years.

While RBG will continue to operate under its own brand and existing leadership in this latest deal, its chairman and founder Robert Bird said, ‘This agreement represents the next stage of growth for the Robert Bird Group, with closer alignment to Surbana Jurong giving us the opportunity to access new projects around the world for a wider base of clients. This will only heighten our ability in securing new national and international projects and will open the door to further growth for our firm across Asia and in Africa.’

The acquisition is expected to be completed by early December.