Infrastructure giant Aecon exploring potential corporate sale

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aecon ION
Aecon is involved in one of the first Light Rail Transit projects for the Waterloo Region, and is responsible for the full scope of the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of the Waterloo LRT system including a 19 kilometres of dual track system, 16 LRT stops, and the operations, maintenance and storage facility. (Image provided by Aecon)

Aecon, one of Canada’s largest publicly traded infrastructure contractors, says it is exploring “a potential sale of the company.”

The news has spurred a significant increase in shareholder prices, but may result in the business being sold to a foreign – possibly Chinese – business, according to published reports.

“The company confirms that it has engaged BMO Capital Markets and TD Securities to explore a potential sale of the company,” Aecon said in a statement. “Any transaction would be intended to create shareholder value and enhance the company’s capabilities and growth potential.”

“There can be no assurance that this process will result in any agreement or that a transaction will be consummated,” the statement said.

The company has been without a permanent chief executive officer since November, when executive chairman and founder John Beck replaced Terrance McKibbon on an interim basis, The Globe and Mail has reported.

Beck said in a July conference call that Aecon was well positioned to benefit from the new $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank launched by the federal government to help develop infrastructure projects.

“Aecon is currently pursuing projects at the bidding or qualification stage and have total capital costs in excess of $25-billion,” Beck said then. “We are very positive on the impact this level of investment and pipeline of projects will have on Aecon’s growth and margin profile.”

Aecon says it provides integrated turnkey services to private and public sector clients in the infrastructure, energy and Mining sectors and provides project management, financing and development services through its concessions segment.

At close of business on Aug. 25, the company had a market capitalization of $858.75 million.

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