Ramboll doubles US footprint with acquisition of engineering consultancy OBG

18 December 2018 Consulting.us 3 min. read

Copenhagen-based design and engineering firm Ramboll has added Syracuse, NY–based OBG and its 900 professionals, bringing its US footprint to 2000 employees (and its global presence to 15,000).

Denmark-based global consultancy Ramboll entered the US market in 1982, but only kicked its American growth into high-gear with the 2014 acquisition of US-based ENVIRON – which had 800 employees across the country. The last year also saw the company organically grow by 9.5% in the US – as Ramboll has seen especially strong growth and profitability in the region.

Now, Ramboll has made another landmark US acquisition with the purchase of design and engineering consulting firm OBG (formerly O’Brien & Gere). Founded in 1945, the Syracuse-based and employee-owned firm has over 900 employees across 24 cities in the US, with particular strength in the eastern US.

OBG provides engineering, construction, and operational services across its key focus areas of advanced manufacturing, energy, environment, and water. The firm’s acquisition will bolster Ramboll’s capabilities in the above areas, while swelling its US employee base from just over 1000 to about 2000 people.Ramboll doubles US footprint with acquisition of engineering consultancy OBGOBG has strong client relationships in the public sector, as well as in the life sciences, food & beverage, and manufacturing industries. The firm’s current projects include one of the world’s largest wastewater treatment plants (in Washington, DC), an energy efficiency and emissions reduction plan for New York State agencies, and a restoration project for Onandaga Lake (NY) and surrounding habitats.

Ramboll’s purchase saw wide approval from OBG shareholders, with 91% casting their shares in favor of the transaction.

“We see joining forces with Ramboll as a tremendous opportunity to widen our client base in the US as well as extend our client relationships globally,” commented OBG CEO Jim Fox. “Additionally, this brings together world-class thought leadership and the capacity to solve the challenges caused by global megatrends such as urbanization, climate change, and resource scarcity.”

Strategic growth

Remarking on the deal, Ramboll CEO Jens-Peter Saul said, “We are very excited to be welcoming OBG’s 900 experts to Ramboll. Growing in North America has been a strategic priority for us since we established our US presence in 2014 with the successful acquisition of ENVIRON.”

With its US strength doubling to 2000 professionals, the firm has created a new Principal Business Unit for the Americas spanning the US, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil – and offering services in water, energy, environment, and health. The business unit will be led by former OBG CEO Jim Fox, who will take the title of Managing Director.

According to a release from Ramboll, the company aims to continue its strong growth in the profitable Americas in the future. “The ambition is for the unit to grow from the current 2,000 employees to 3-4,000 US employees in four to five years,” outlined the press release.