SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is expanding its global consulting, design and project management capabilities with the takeover of U.K.-based WS Atkins Plc.

SNC-Lavalin, based in Montreal, Canada, said April 20 it agreed to acquire Atkins for about C$3.6 billion (US$2.7 billion) in cash. The combination is set to create a C$12.1 billion (US$9 billion) global professional services and project management company with 53,000 employees, according to a company release.

In 2016, Atkins had 18,000 employees with revenues of about 2 billion British pounds from consultancies in design, engineering and project management across the infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors. The company, founded in 1938, operates in the U.S., Middle East and Asia, with a leading position in the U.K. and Scandinavia.

The acquisition will bring new and complementary capabilities to SNC-Lavalin in three of its four sectors, and with essentially no overlap in its service offering, with a significant presence in Europe, U.K., Scandinavia, the U.S., Middle East and Asia, the company said.

SNC-Lavalin's acquisition will be funded through a combination of equity and debt issuance and supported by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the company’s largest shareholder.

RBC Capital Markets is financial adviser and corporate broker to SNC-Lavalin. SNC-Lavalin’s legal adviser is Norton Rose Fulbright. SNC-Lavalin’s accountants are Deloitte LLP, and Maitland acted as financial communications consultants. The company expects the acquisition to close third-quarter 2017. (C$1 = US$0.74)