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Is the comeback on for CH2M?

CH2M has certainly had an eventful year – and it’s only summer.

After weeks of speculation, the US engineering giant has been acquired by another American engineering firm, Jacobs, in a deal worth $3.27bn (£2.47bn).

The takeover will see the formation of a $15bn (£11bn) global business according to Jacobs. But what baggage does the deal come with?

Looking back at events that have taken place over the past seven months holds some clues.

Things seemed to be starting off on the right foot after the US engineering giant was confirmed as preferred consultant for HS2’s £170m phase two development partner role in February.

Stories around potential conflicts of interest during the bid process swiftly emerged, however, leading to CH2M withdrawing from the contract in March. Bechtel was subsequently handed the contract by HS2.

Although the firm suffered something of an embarrassment on this particular high-profile project, it recently bounced back by winning work on another. CH2M bagged the project, programme and cost management role on the refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster.

But the comeback isn’t complete quite yet.

The firm still faces a series of problems, as covered by national media. The Telegraph has reported that an over-running MoPac toll road in Texas and a severely delayed power plant currently under construction in Australia is causing the firm headaches.

Furthermore, the acquisition announced today means Jacobs will take on $416m (£314m) of CH2M’s net debt.

No doubt such a large acquisition could make Jacobs an engineering force to be reckoned with. But will it be able to successfully handle the load that CH2M brings to its table?

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