US giant CH2M Hill looks for infrastructure deals after buying British engineer

The US engineering giant behind the London 2012 Olympic Park and High Speed Two is pumping £65m into the UK this year in a move that will create 500 jobs.

CH2M Hill, which in 2011 paid £124m for struggling Halcrow, the 145-year-old British engineering consultancy that built air raid shelters under Tube stations during the war, is looking to win a bigger slice of the UK's infrastructure market.

Lee McIntire, the chairman and chief executive at Colorado-based CH2M Hill, told The Independent on Sunday: "Halcrow for us has really been about its technical capabilities, which can be put together with CH2M Hill's focus on finances. We don't make a lot of acquisitions, maybe one every two or three years – Halcrow's the biggest we've ever done."

Mr McIntire, who is also a non-executive director at the defence group BAE Systems, added that the UK is an increasingly important market as the Government looks to new railways, tunnels and power stations to stimulate economic growth. He said: "This country is an asset to the world. The UK – London in particular – has to expand. Britain is important because of its location, time zone, openness and is a safe haven for investment when there is a crisis."

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said the investment represented "a great vote of confidence" in Britain's engineers. He added: "Building on our strengths in areas like manufacturing, including engineering, will be crucial to our success in the years ahead."

CH2M Hill employs more than 3,300 in the UK. The group worked with the British firms Mace and Laing O'Rourke on overseeing the London Olympic construction.

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