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Consultant Mott MacDonald has bought a former East German engineering consultancy as a springboard into Germany and Eastern Europe.Mott MacDonald is thought to have paid £1 million for industrial structural engineering consultant IPRO, which is based in Leipzig and employs about 100 staff.David Palmer, chairman of Mott MacDonald Europe, said: 'Leipzig is an industrial centre which is attracting a lot of infrastructure investment. But that's not to say we are ignoring Berlin.'IPRO has a strong track record in industrial structural engineering and small associated civil works.'We intend to develop the civil engineering side using our own skills,' said Mr Palmer.The purchase shadows efforts by rival Acer to establish a foothold in Germany.Last year Acer bought the German firm's sister company IPRO Halle to strengthen its overseas income on the back of raised construction activity in the east.But the business strategy is different in that Acer opted for a controlling state in IPRO Halle, while Mott bought IPRO Leipzig outright.Before unification IPRO was an unwieldy 10,000-strong architectural and construction combine.To aid its sale, the German privatisation agency, the Treuhandanstalt, broke it into small regional companies for sale to foreign investors. CONSTRUCTION NEWS