Surbana Jurong acquires SMEC

Singapore-based Surbana Jurong has acquired Australian engineering company SMEC Holdings for approximately S$400 million, establishing a global consultancy group with deep combined expertise in urban and infrastructure sectors.

The joint entity will have a combined revenue of S$1.1 billion, with a global workforce of almost 10,000 employees in over 95 offices across 40 countries in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. It is set to be one of the largest urban and infrastructure consulting firms in Asia.

SMEC specialises in major infrastructure projects. It was formed in 1949 to undertake a major integrated water and hydroelectric power project in New South Wales, Australia, called Snowy Mountain Hydroelectric Scheme, one of the largest and most complex hydroelectric schemes in the world. The project was considered an engineering feat and recognised by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the modern world. It took 25 years to complete and included 16 major dams, seven power stations and one pumping station, over 225 km of tunnels and aqueducts and 2,000 km of roads.

Today, SMEC has a talent pool of almost 6,000 people working within a global network of over 75 offices across Asia, Africa, Australasia and North and South America. In 2016, the company has just been ranked 48 (2015: 51) amongst the top 225 International Design Firms and 69 (2015: 76) amongst the top 150 Global Design Firms.

Andy Goodwin, SMEC’s CEO and managing director, said the partnership with Surbana Jurong is expected to further accelerate and support SMEC’s growth ambitions. “This partnership is a reflection of the strategic value of our business and its potential to further deliver solutions internationally. It also signifies recognition of the professional skills at SMEC,” he said.

“The combined entity will not only benefit our clients, but importantly deliver enhanced growth opportunities for our employees and our partners. We are confident that the synergies between SMEC’s progressive culture and Surbana Jurong’s established company values will result in a mutually beneficial partnership over the long term.”

Both companies also mentioned that they would focus on emerging markets for now.

“A large part of Asia and other emerging countries have to catch up with their deficit in urbanisation and infrastructure development in order to grow and support their economies,” explained Liew Mun Leong, chairman of Surbana Jurong. “According to a report by PwC, infrastructure spending is expected to grow from US$4 trillion per year in 2012 to more than US$9 trillion per year in 2025, of which 60 percent will be in the Asia Pacific market.

“In addition to financing and funding, wide and deep technical expertise in urbanisation and infrastructure development will be needed. Singapore and Australia have successfully done many major showcase national development projects through Surbana Jurong and SMEC. Besides their complementary strengths, both companies have very similar corporate cultures and core values.”

Mr Liew continued, “It will be timely and opportunistic for the synergetic merger of these two very competent organisations to share their expertise and capture the huge market opportunities. Going forward, Surbana Jurong/SMEC will be positioned as the largest development consultancy group based in the Asia Pacific region.”

Headquartered in Singapore, Surbana Jurong has played a major role in shaping the country’s public township and industrial landscape, before going on to achieve significant international success. As part of its urbanisation model, Surbana Jurong provided the technical expertise to design over a million homes in Singapore and continues to be involved in rejuvenating most of the public Housing & Development Board (HDB) townships, where over 80 percent of residents in Singapore dwell.

Surbana Jurong is also the technical consultant behind most of Singapore’s industrial developments, including the region’s leading petrochemical hub, Jurong Island. The company has developed masterplans for more than 30 countries and developed more than 50 industrial parks worldwide.

“SMEC’s experience and strength in major infrastructure projects in the urban transport, energy and water sectors such as hydroelectric power plants, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems, bridges and highways, coupled with Surbana Jurong’s track record and expertise in urban planning, township and industrial development, will enable us to offer unique complete value chain services in urban and infrastructure solutions to our clients globally,” said Wong Heang Fine, group CEO of Surbana Jurong.

“As a company with a worldwide presence, global experience and expertise with local knowledge, we will be able to assist our clients to solve complex challenges in different markets. We will also be able to use our wide network of clients to find synergistic development and business opportunities across various sectors and geographies. Together, the company will be in a unique position to capture opportunities in the global market, and I believe this will put us on a path to accelerated growth.”