John Wood Group, the global engineering and consulting company, has closed the sale of its nuclear business to Jacobs for a cash consideration of £250m.
US-based Jacobs, which already employs 1,100 staff in Warrington and Manchester, said it will recruit up to 400 new members of staff over the next year.
The deal represents a multiple of approximately 12.4x based on 2018 EBITDA of £20.2m for the business, which employs 1,250 staff in Cheshire.
Agreement on the deal was reached in August 2019, with closing conditional upon merger clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority, which was received on March 4, 2020.
The cash proceeds from the nuclear divestment and the recent sale of Wood’s industrial services business generated a total of $429m.
These moves form part of Wood’s ongoing portfolio optimisation focus and will also enable the company to reduce debt and accelerate progress towards its target leverage policy.
Wood’s nuclear headquarters were in Knutsford and Warrington where the company employs 1,250 staff, working in new build, reactor support and decommissioning across two sites on some of the most complex and challenging locations around the world, including Sellafield, Fukushima and Chernobyl.
At Birchwood, staff provide nuclear safety assurance and materials research and testing to support the UK’s nuclear submarines.
Dallas-based Jacobs Jacobs currently has 250 people in Warrington and another 850 in Manchester working on nationally important projects for Sellafield, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Environment Agency, Highways England, Network Rail, and other clients in the North West of England and beyond.
The combined 2100+ team in the region supports projects and programmes across nuclear and defence, transportation, environmental, buildings, and other sectors.
Jacobs said it will recruit 300 to 400 additional employees into highly-skilled roles over the next year.
Jacobs’ plans also include investment in the UK’s largest independent nuclear research, development and testing facilities at Birchwood Park to provide capability such as remote handling, cyber, inspection technology capabilities and test rig facilities.