Specialist Northern Ireland pipes firm acquired by US giant Aegion
A Northern Ireland company specialising in carrying out sewerage and water pipe work without digging up roads has been acquired by a US giant for an undisclosed sum.
Environmental Techniques, which employs nearly 50 people in Lisburn, will now be part of Missouri-based Aegion.
Aegion has annual sales of around $1.2bn and more than 5,000 employees, and trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.
Shauna Herron, director of the Lisburn firm, said its method was known was "trenchless". "We are able to update sewer pipes without digging up roads, a method which gives value for money and cost savings.
"Rivers Agency and NI Water has been extremely progressive at using this type of technology as it recognises that people are fed up sitting in traffic jams while utility companies seem to be digging at the same stretch of road."
She said the firm had formerly worked with Instituform, another subsidiary of Aegion, before an approach was made last year.
"We have just seen it as an opportunity to really let the business grow."
The method uses hi-tech methods to repair existing pipes by injecting materials such as fibreglass or carbon fire inside them.
Environmental Techniques has carried out a major project for NI Water. "We worked on the capital delivery framework for NI Water, rehabilitating a lot of ageing sewers in places where there had been lots of flooding to prevent it from happening again. It's a non-intrusive way which means minimal disruption as we work through existing manholes," said Ms Herron.
She said the method had been used for some time but had seen advancements in the last few years.
"Our intention is to expand through the help of Aegion. They like what they see with us and would like us to continue. Our brand is strong in the market. We are part of the Aegion Group but they want us to retain the brand and the local feel.
She said the company had benefited from research and development support from economic development agency Invest NI. "That's actually really helped attract attention to some of the innovative ways we have approached things."
Environmental Techniques has four locations in Dublin, Lisburn, Wakefield and Livingston.
Ms Herron will continue to manage the company's operations in Ireland and Scotland, while Mark Neal will look after England and the Channel Islands.