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AECOM aims to become ‘largest infra firm in the world’

The firm’s chief executive said it expects to spend billions on infra acquisitions amid optimism that government leaders will put in place an infrastructure programme by the end of the year.

Citing optimism over a proposed infrastructure spending bill, engineering firm AECOM has said it is planning to spend billions on infrastructure acquisitions in the coming years.

Michael Burke, AECOM’s chief executive, said the firm is looking to become the largest infrastructure firm in the world in both construction and design, according to Bloomberg News. Burke told the channel he plans to seek out “good, solid strategic acquisitions”, noting that the firm has a projected free cashflow of $3.5 billion over the next five years.

AECOM has been buoyed by President Trump’s promise to produce $1 trillion in infrastructure investment, with its stock price soaring more than 30 percent since the 8 November election. In a television interview on Monday, Burke said he expects a plan to be put in place by the end of this year and to be implemented in 2018 and 2019.

“We have seen broad bipartisan support across Washington for an infrastructure initiative,” Burke said, adding that he expects components of Trump’s plan to include tax credits and TIFIA-type bonds. “So we will see a wide array of initiatives that will come together to form an infrastructure platform.”

Burke believes a plan will focus on giving incentives to bring private capital into infrastructure projects, citing a campaign paper published last October by Trump advisors Wilbur Ross, now Trump’s commerce secretary, and Peter Navarro.

“We’ve seen public-private partnerships bring private investment to the public sector in Australia, in Canada, in the UK, across Europe,” Burke said. “It has been quite successful, and here in the US we just [have not] taken advantage of private sector investment.”