Canadian Manufacturing

U.S. infrastructure bill means is a positive for WSP Global, CEO says

The bill holds the promise of rebuilding aging roads, highways and bridges across the United States as well as improving broadband, ports, water supplies and other public works.

November 11, 2021  The Canadian Press

The US$1-trillion infrastructure package passed by Congress on Nov. 5 marks a boon for WSP Global Inc., says the CEO of the Montreal-based engineering firm.

Alexandre L’Heureux said on Nov. 10 that the fast-growing company, whose design and management services overlay directly onto the types of projects backed by President Joe Biden’s bill, is poised to boost its backlog over the next year and beyond as a result.

“Clearly our clients at the moment are excited. There’s obviously also a nervousness about the ability to deliver, which I haven’t seen in a very long time. So I think this is clearly a positive outcome as it relates to organic growth,” L’Heureux told investors on a conference call.

While Biden predicted last week Americans would begin to feel the impact of the infrastructure bill within two to three months, L’Heureux says federal funds won’t start “entering the pipeline” for up to six months.

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The funding flood should drive more projects for WSP by late next year or 2023, the CEO said.

The bill holds the promise of rebuilding aging roads, highways and bridges across the United States as well as improving broadband, ports, water supplies and other public works.

Renewed commitments to emissions reduction and a greener globe across levels of government as well as international forums like the ongoing United Nations climate change conference in Scotland feed into WSP’s focus on environmental services.

“This is by far our fastest growing sector at the moment,” he said, citing green infrastructure plan in Canada, Australia, the U.S. and Scandinavia.

“And the work that we do in environment is often times in preparation for more work in the transportation, infrastructure and building sectors.”

WSP beat expectations on Nov. 9 as its net profit increased 33 per cent in its latest quarter, with acquisitions helping to boost revenues.

Its backlog stood at $10 billion, representing nearly 12 months of revenues. And its workforce grew more than 17 per cent year over year to 55,300 employees in the third quarter from 47,100 a year earlier.

WSP’s share price rose 3.55 per cent on Nov. 10, closing up $6.12 at $178.65 after hitting a record high in earlier trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.


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