SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is looking to turn the page on an era of underperformance and scandals with a new name: AtkinsRéalis.
(Bloomberg) — SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. is looking to turn the page on an era of underperformance and scandals with a new name: AtkinsRéalis.
The moniker is a nod to WS Atkins Plc, the UK engineering firm SNC bought in 2017, as well as the company’s roots and headquarters in the French-speaking Canadian city of Montreal. Its ticker symbol on the Toronto Stock Exchange will switch from “SNC” to “ATRL” on Sept. 18.
SNC-Lavalin had become associated with a series of missteps, including charges for bribery in Libya and a political imbroglio that complicated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2019 reelection bid. But for Chief Executive Officer Ian Edwards, who took the helm in that same year, the change is more about the firm’s new identity and strategy than shedding unsavory associations.
Under Edwards, SNC exited the oil and gas sector, abandoned unprofitable projects and went from operating in 57 countries to focus on Canada, the US and the UK. Those three countries represent 80% of revenue now.
“We can’t deny that it’s been tough,” Edwards said in an interview. “Clearly, we needed one brand that everybody could get to and relate to. It was a bit confusing for customers as well.”
The change comes as SNC-Lavalin, which has 36,000 employees, is looking to expand further in the US. It will do so organically in southern states, but also through acquisitions in the northeast and northwest.
“We’re going to make sure that we are successful with the first couple of smaller tuck-in acquisitions, get them integrated, build capability, and make sure that investors have confidence that we can do this,” Edwards said.
SNC-Lavalin’s shares have risen 82% this year, fueled by investor optimism about an improving balance sheet and its new focus. But they’re still about 30% lower than the high point reached in 2011.
Edwards said the firm is as “close to recession-proof as you can get,” with 75% of business coming from government. About 70% of the business is in engineering services and 12% from nuclear, a segment poised for growth, he said.
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