Big Business

by Paul J. Zofnass, Pres.; Environmental Financial Consulting Group, Inc., 18 E. 48 St., New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1996, Vol. 66, Issue 5, Pg. 52-55

Document Type: Feature article


Prior to the 1990s, there were few mergers in the environmental engineering consulting industry. Growth and profitability were generally sufficient to compensate owners and employees and to finance growth. Most companies were private, owned by employees, and operated on limited capital. There was neither the need nor the wherewithal to make acquisitions. That changed starting in the late 1980s. Spurred by Wall Street's hunger to participate in the growth of a new industry, a number of environmental engineering consulting firms went public. The wave of mergers and acquisitions has continued into the current era of increasing competition and flat profits. The article traces the history of this trend from initial small firm acquisitions, to mid-size firm mergers to the current move toward industry megamergers and discusses their impact on the industry in the future.

Subject Headings: Consulting services | Industries | Environmental issues | Profits | Employees | Owners | Private sector | Assets

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