Benefits of a merger

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— An international environmental engineering and construction firm with a major office in Steamboat Springs expects its local presence to grow as a result of its recent merger with another company.

Officials of Montgomery Watson say their merger with Harza Engineering Co. presents new opportunities for the Steamboat office. The local office currently employs 35 people.

The newly merged organization, renamed MWH Global Inc., is worth more than $700 million and employs more than 5,500 people in 30 countries around the world. The Steamboat office is the headquarters for mining and South American operations.

Projects managed by the Steamboat office of MWH range from mining remediation at high-elevation mines in central Colorado, Peru and Chile; to management of urban water systems in Brazil and Peru; to the closure of a copper-arsenic contaminated lagoon in Bulgaria.

Key executives of Montgomery Watson have remained based in Steamboat since the Montgomery Watson's 1997 acquisition of TerraMatrix, a local firm.

"MWH is among the largest privately held companies in the United States and is considered a leader in engineering and construction around the world," said Alan Krause, MWH senior vice president and manager of the global mining and South American water sector. "The Steamboat office already plays a significant role in this organization, but the Harza merger presents many new opportunities for us to grow."

Krause said the merger will increase the number of employees managed by MWH Steamboat to about 450 people at a variety of locations worldwide. At the same time it will increase the company's capabilities in Peru, Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

"We are now able to be more aggressive at pursuing mining and water-related projects throughout the world and we now have a sizable indigenous staff in South America," Krause said. "The merger also strongly increases our water resource and energy capabilities in the Rocky Mountain and western regions of the United States. As we expand as an organization we expect to see continued growth throughout MWH and specifically in the Steamboat office."

TerraMatrix had its origins in a company called ACZ Inc., which was formed here in 1980. ACZ Inc. included both engineering and laboratory functions. In 1989, the laboratory division spun off to form ACZ Labs Inc. The engineering division remained known as ACZ Inc. until 1993, when it became TerraMatrix.

An industry publication, Engineering News-Record, ranks Montgomery Watson 17th internationally in engineering design and 12th in environmental work. The publication ranks Harza 58th in engineering design and 75th in environmental. Both companies are also ranked among the top 20 in wastewater, water, hazardous waste and power.

Company officials say MWH will seek to capitalize on the greater financial strength of a larger more diverse organization while expanding its menu of products and professional expertise. Senior management predicts it will generate in excess of $1 billion in annual revenue by 2003.

MWH Global Inc. describes itself as a private, employee-owned firm specializing in engineering design and remediation, construction, program management and technology solutions for the environmental, land, water, wastewater, energy and power markets of the Americas, Europe, Middle East, India, Asia and the Pacific Rim.

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