Webuild acquires assets of WA Construction firm, Clough
Webuild has reached an agreement with Clough’s Administrators for the acquisition of assets comprising the Australian organisation and certain projects.
The transaction is aimed at growing Webuild’s footprint in Australia, a thriving strategic market, through the acquisition of expertise and workforce.
Webuild had previously signed a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with the South African company Murray & Roberts for the acquisition of 100% of Clough, subject to conditions. These conditions precedent were not met and, as a result, on 5 December 2022, Webuild and Murray & Roberts jointly agreed to terminate the SPA informing the market of their decision. Clough was thus placed in voluntary administration as its ability to continue as a going concern was dependent on third party funding, which Murray & Roberts had stated it was unable to supply.
Following this, on 14 December, Webuild reached an agreement for the acquisition of a set of assets comprising the Australian organisation and certain projects.
Australia is currently Webuild’s second largest market after Italy with an order backlog of €8.9 billion, including projects for which Webuild is the preferred bidder, and a workforce of more than 1,800 people.
Clough, a major player in its sector with a workforce of around 2,500 employees was founded in Perth in 1919. It offered sustainable and innovative solutions in the design, construction and maintenance of plants and infrastructures. Its landmark projects include the first high-rise in Perth, and the first major underground freeway tunnel in Western Australia.
The Italian company, is set to acquire assets relating to the Clough’s Australian business, as well as key projects like the Snowy Hydro 2.0 and Inland Rail contracts.
Administrator Jason Tracy described the agreement as a “significant development”.
“In the last week, we have developed productive relationships with project principals and partners, and now have interim and ongoing funding agreements in place across 95 per cent of projects by value,” Mr Tracy quoted on ABC News’s website. “This provides stability for those projects, clients and joint venture partners, employees, sub-contractors and other stakeholders.”
The administrators will now enter a period of negotiation with Webuild to finalise an agreement before a deadline of December 21.
Clough’s troubles are the latest in a shopping list of building firm collpases this year and the latest in WA following FIRM Construction, who went into administration last month.