MONTREAL – WSP Global is looking to expand its relationship with Hydro-Quebec and pursue additional acquisitions around the world as it aims to become the world’s leading pure play engineering consulting firm, the company’s new CEO said Thursday.
“We have so much runway ahead,” Alexandre L’Heureux said in an interview after WSP Global’s annual meeting.
The Montreal-based company has grown rapidly through a string of acquisitions to become the world’s second-largest engineering consulting firm without a construction role.
WSP Global’s near-term strategy is to add $1.5 billion a year in revenues to about $7.5 billion and increase its workforce by about a third to 45,000 by the end of 2018.
L’Heureux, formerly the company’s chief financial officer who was named to replace Pierre Shoiry in the top job, said he has no plans to divert from that goal.
“I believe in our strategy so with me it’s not going to be revolution it’s going to be evolution,” he said.
WSP Global (TSX:WSP), formerly called Genivar, has approached Hydro-Quebec about expanding their relationship as the public utility looks to double its revenues by 2030 by pursuing international growth.
L’Heureux said he didn’t know how much additional revenue could come from the utility.
“They have historically been good clients of ours and if they choose to work and invest abroad we have a global network and I believe we have the technical ability to assist them,” he said.
Hydro-Quebec has said discussions have also taken place with other firms in Quebec and elsewhere that could assist with the expansion. SNC-Lavalin is among those that have expressed interest.
Meanwhile, WSP Global said it submitted a settlement proposal less than a month ago to make restitution in Quebec for obtaining contracts through questionable means. L’Heureux declined to provide details including identifying municipalities or public bodies.
L’Heureux said the company’s proposal has a provision for the payments which he said shouldn’t have any impact on WSP’s financials.
“It’s not about getting things behind us, it’s approaching this in the way that we get the proper resolution with the government authorities,” he said.
SNC-Lavalin has also given notice it will submit a proposal.