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An Energy Consulting Twofer

January 15

Black & Veatch, the $1.4 billion employee-owned infrastructure engineering firm based in Overland Park, KS, recently announced its purchase of two small but sophisticated energy industry consulting firms, RJ Rudden and Lukens Energy Group, terms undisclosed.

The deal is a bit of a departure for B&V: their last purchase, in 2003, was of another engineering consultancy, UK-based Lewin Fryer.
Like other large engineering outfits (Bechtel, Flour, Shaw Group), B&V has seen some rough sledding in the past few years. 2003 sales were down 30% and headcount dropped 13% versus 2002.

The companyís purchase of Rudden and Lukens could be interpreted as an effort to escape the brutal global competition depressing sales and profit in the large-scale engineering business. But B&V will have to grow these boutique consultancies substantially and/or complete additional deals before this sector has a material impact on B&Vís overall sales and profitability.

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