Canadian Consulting Engineer

Earth Tech carries on as normal despite problems plaguing parent company Tyco

July 2, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

International engineering firm Earth Tech continues to announce new projects despite the trials and tribulations of...

International engineering firm Earth Tech continues to announce new projects despite the trials and tribulations of its parent company Tyco International.
Earth Tech is based in California, but it has become an important player in the Canadian consulting engineering scene after recently buying two large and well-established consulting engineering firms. Proctor and Redfern, a Toronto consulting engineering firm of 148 employees, with a history going back to before World War I, became part of Earth Tech in early 1999. By last year, Reid Crowther, a larger consulting engineering firm with over 600 employees based in western Canada, had also fallen into the international Earth Tech fold.
Earth Tech in turn is a business unit of Tyco International Ltd., a vast conglomerate of diverse industries, with its head office in tax-favourable Bermuda. Publicly traded on the international stock exchanges of New York, London, etc., Tyco has recently been suffering large losses in its share price and is plagued by accusations of mismanagement. Just this week Tyco divested itself of CIT Group at half the amount it paid for the business a year ago, and with $27 billion in debt its stock price has dropped 76% this year, according to the Globe and Mail. On top of its financial woes, the company chief executive, Dennis Kozlowski, resigned in early June and is charged with personal tax evasion.
Jay Reed, public relations manager at Earth Tech, told Canadian Consulting Engineer that what happens in Tyco “really doesn’t have any effect on Earth Tech,” because Earth Tech is just the engineering arm. However, it’s interesting that in press releases issued after mid-May when the Tyco financial troubles hit the headlines, Earth Tech press releases no longer emphasize the company’s relationship to its parent.
It may be that the business of Earth Tech companies will continue. If, however, any of the principals of Canadian consulting engineering firms that became part of Earth Earth were paid in shares, they’ll be suffering from the drop in the price of their holdings.
Meanwhile Earth Tech continues to announce successful commissions. In May, the company issued a press release announcing it has been selected by the Municipality of Jasper, Alberta, to design, build and operate the municipality’s wastewater treatment. The contract is for 20 years, and valued at $11 million. The plant will replace a 30-year old four-cell wastwater lagoon with a BNR treatment plant system. It is being built on a fast-track schedule to be ready by spring next year.
In another press release, Earth Tech announced it has been awarded three master service agreements by Canadian National Railways to do the engineering and environmental services for three of the railroad’s districts in the U.S. over the next two years. The districts are Wisconsin Central, Illinois Central, and the Grand Trunk District. Under the contract Earth Tech will do design/build services for faciltiies such as storm/wastewater assessments, fueling system stations, bridges, and environment assessments and auditing training for CN employees.


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