UPDATE 1-Kentz targets Americas growth with $435 mln Valerus buy

Mon Dec 9, 2013 2:59am EST

LONDON Dec 9 (Reuters) - British engineer Kentz said on Monday it had agreed to acquire U.S.-based Valerus Field Solutions for $435 million in cash, to expand its engineering capability and presence in Latin America.

Kentz, a specialist construction company focused on oil and gas, mining and infrastructure, which was itself a takeover target earlier this year, had long said it wanted to grow its engineering arm in order to bid for more engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

"We've found a very strong and agile business with a strong culture that fits our own, so we're pleased to have found it," Kentz Chief Executive Chris Brown told Reuters.

Brown said the acquisition would give Kentz access to the U.S. market for both conventional oil and shale, as well as to Latin America, with Valerus established in Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico.

The deal adds about 700 people to Kentz's 14,500 employees with a focus on expansion rather than synergy savings.

"There's very little if any integration necessary here ... no synergies (are) needed to make the deal work," Brown said.

Valerus made core earnings (EBITDA) of $51.5 million on revenue of $492.9 million last year, Kentz said in the statement.

The firm added the acquisition was expected to be earnings enhancing within the first full financial year of ownership and should be completed shortly after a shareholder meeting on Jan. 2.

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