PwC acquires MidEast construction firm

(Bloomberg)

PwC has bought a Middle East construction firm that specialises in construction disputes, to help it serve an increasingly litigious market.

The ‘Big Four’ professional services firm acquired HLP Consulting on May 1.

The company specialises in claims preparation and analysis, dispute resolution, expert witness, contract management and commercial management services to the construction industry and energy sectors.

It is active across the region, including in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, as well as other international locations.

Under the deal, HLP Directors Mike Harding, Simon Lowe, Alastair Gray, Shaun Crawley and their teams joined PwC Middle East from 1 May, PwC announced in a statement.

Construction disputes in the Middle East rose to their highest level in 2014 since 2011, according to data from Arcadis last year, with the average value of disputes soaring 88 percent to $76.7 million in 2014.

PwC said the acquisition would “bolster its existing capabilities in the region and enable it to better serve clients’ needs”.

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John Wilkinson, PwC deals leader for Middle East Region and senior partner, forensic services said: “With falling oil prices, we are likely to see an increase in construction-related disputes and with this acquisition we seek to better serve and equip our clients.”

HLP Consulting’s principal director Mike Harding added: “Joining PwC is strategically the right choice. We wanted to join a firm with an established growth track record and with aspirations and values that matched our own.

“HLP as a business has grown significantly over the past few years and now is the right time to join to access the wider PwC international network and investment that will enable us to develop the business further.”

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