WSP Global reports improved Q2 earnings

Montreal-based engineering firm WSP Global Inc. reported a seven per cent jump in earnings during its second-quarter, which closed just weeks before the company's stock hit a 10-year high ahead of an announcement it would buy a New Jersey-based infrastructure contractor.

Net income for WSP, which reports in U.S. dollars, came in at $67.8 million in the quarter ended June 30, up from $62.8 million in the same period a year earlier as the company reported all of its segments posted solid revenue growth.

Revenues jumped 17.1 per cent to $1.54 billion.

On an adjusted basis, the company's net earnings amounted to 78 cents per share, falling short of analysts' estimates of 85 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

WSP is Ottawa's largest engineering firm, with four local offices and some 170 employees.

The pending $400-million deal to acquire Berger Group Holdings Inc. came on the heels of a rapid rise in WSP's share price that peaked at a 10-year high of $75.35 on June 15.

The purchase will add several thousand more employees to the WSP roster, which it projects will hit 48,000 when the deal closes in the fourth quarter.

Louis Berger comes on board carrying baggage. In 2015, the World Bank debarred subsidiary Louis Berger Inc. for a year for "engaging in corrupt practices" in two World Bank-financed projects in Vietnam.

In 2010, the company entered into a $69-million settlement with the U.S. government following a federal fraud investigation into its work on projects funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development in Afghanistan.