Clarke Bond signals Northern push with Deakin Walton buyout

Sale-based consulting engineering firm Deakin Walton has been acquired by larger rival Clarke Bond for an undisclosed sum.

Deakin Walton will be renamed Clarke Bond North as the enlarged parent consultancy moves to a new regional structure offering services including civil and structural engineering, geo-environmental consultancy, sustainability, master-planning and project management.

David Harding, Clarke Bond chief executive, said: "Deakin Walton has an excellent reputation and joins us with a strong order book and a broad range of clients. This purchase is an important step in our ambition to secure a Top 20 place in the league of UK engineering firms though a strategy of acquisition, organic growth and international development. It keeps us firmly on target to grow revenues by 250% to £40m over the next four years with a proportionate increase in profitability".

Deakin Walton employs 35 people and has a second office in Harrogate, Yorkshire. Originally formed from a merger between Deakin Callard and Jon Walton Associates, it became Deakin Walton in 1999. In 2007 its revenues were £2.7m.

The Sale office worked on the residential development at No 1 Deansgate in Manchester and for the Reebok Stadium for Bolton Wanderers FC. Other major clients include Bruntwood, Artisan and HBOS.

Clarke Bond already has offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Swansea and it is to announce a first overseas office in the Middle East as it develops an international network to enable it to compete for significantly larger and more complex projects throughout the world.

A first success for the new Clarke Bond North is its appointment as consulting engineers, by Ask/Realty Estates, for the redevelopment of the former Boddingtons' Brewery site adjacent to the MEN Arena in Manchester.

Ask/Realty plan up to 1.5m sq ft of retail, hotel, leisure residential and car-parking development. The eventual investment value will exceed £270m.

David Knight, director in Deakin Walton's Sale office, said: "Our relationship with Clarke Bond goes back 20 years and we worked with them on the Boddingtons bid."

Clarke Bond's clients include Asda Walmart, Guiness Trust, HM Prison Service and the London Development Agency. Annual turnover in 2007 totalled £13.1m, a 32% growth on the previous year, and projected 2008 turnover is £20m.

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