UK designer of Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel buys Kenyan firm

Atkins’ chief executive officer Uwe Krueger.
Atkins’ chief executive officer Uwe Krueger. PHOTO/COURTESY
UK design consultancy Atkins has acquired a Kenyan engineering company as it looks to expand into the fast growing East African market.

Atkins, which designed the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai, said on March 3 that it had acquired Howard Humphreys East Africa in a move that will make Nairobi its African headquarters for property, energy and infrastructure deals.

Howard Humphreys East Africa – founded in 1931 – has a strong presence in the regional market and it provides engineering consultancy and project management services in the property, transportation and water sectors.

“This acquisition provides an excellent platform from which to develop our presence in the region and is in line with our strategy of targeted expansion into new geographies,” said Atkins’ chief executive Uwe Krueger.

Atkins, which boasts an annual turnover in excess of Sh200 billion, is eyeing government infrastructure projects among them construction of major highways, airports and energy plants.

The UK firm said it will initially continue operating under Howard Humphreys, but will later change the name to Atkins, “which is globally recognised.”

The two companies did not disclose the value of the transaction, which is expected to be completed in about three months.

Howard’s managing director Kanwal Syan said the local firm has a turnover of Sh1.2 billion meaning the takeover could be worth billions of shillings.

The firm has undertaken consultancy jobs for commercial building projects such as Two Rivers Mall, Garden City, Britam Towers and Times Tower in Nairobi and energy projects like the Olkaria geothermal plants in Naivasha.

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