The purchase of a Canadian engineering company by Opus International Consultants will significantly boost its international revenues and give it a stake in the gas and oil market.
Opus has bought Stewart Weir, for up to $110 million. The deal will lift Opus operations in Canada, taking staff numbers from 150 to more than 700.
Stewart Weir's work on pipeline, infrastructure and energy-related projects makes it a market leader in Alberta, Canada's highest growth market.
Opus chief executive David Prentice said the purchase will lift international revenues from 31 to 45% of total revenues.
He said the deal will take the business from being in a relatively small niche to being a larger more national player.
Mr Prentice said the deal fits with his company's plans to diversify in existing markets and expand into new markets.
He said Opus had 1200 staff 10 years ago, primarily in New Zealand, but since then it has expanded and grown the business and now has almost as many personnel outside New Zealand as within New Zealand.
Mr Prentice said Opus is a very large player in New Zealand and the opportunity for growth in New Zealand is probably not as great as overseas where the company has less of a market share.
But he said they are still looking to grow and diversify the New Zealand business.
Mr Prentice said Opus will initially pay $61 million for Stewart Weir, followed by performance-related payments of up to $49 million, funded by cash and debt.