Keller merges subsidiaries in North America 25 Jul 2019

Jonathan Rowland for TunnelTalk

Global geotechnical contractor, Keller, is to merge its construction subsidiaries in North America. The merger includes ground-freezing specialist, Moretrench, which was acquired in 2018 by Keller group company, Hayward Baker. Both Hayward Baker and Moretrench will now integrate with other Keller subsidiaries, Bencor, Case Atlantic, Case Foundation, HJ Foundation, Keller Canada, and McKinney, into one operating company.

Keller North American subsidiaries to merge
Keller North American subsidiaries to merge

As part of the merger, the individual business brands will be dropped and the new company will operate under the Keller brand. The new structure will come into effect on 1 January 2020.

Founded in 1860 in the UK, Keller has operations in more than 40 countries across six continents. The company has been active in North America for more than 70 years and currently operates from 50 offices in the USA and Canada. The region is the biggest market for the company, accounting for about half of the total group revenue of £2.2 billion in 2018. Operating profit from its North American operations totalled £78.6 million in 2018, an increase of 3% on the year before.

The integrated company will be managed as eight business units. Seven of these will be based geographically across North America, each with similar revenue and offering a full range of products. These units will be based in Canada, Northeast USA, Southeast USA, Florida, Midwest USA, Central USA, and West USA.

“Operating as one company in each local region will make the Keller group companies easier to understand and engage with,” said James Hind, President of Keller North America. Under the new structure, “customers can be confident they are getting the best, most competitive solutions, especially when these involve multiple techniques.”

James Hind will lead the merged company
James Hind will lead the merged company

The eighth business unit will offer speciality products, such as diaphragm walls, instrumentation and monitoring, speciality grouting, ground freezing, and dewatering. Currently only available from a limited number of offices, the merger will bring this expertise together with dedicated teams to provide these services across North America.

“Combining our capabilities will strengthen our position and give us the platform for further growth,” said Hind. “Integrating our geotechnical strengths will help us compete in North America. It will also make it easier for teams to work together, remove duplication and improve efficiency.” Until 1 January 2020, the current structure will continue to bid and secure work, while existing projects will continue as planned.

The new company will be led by the existing leadership of Keller North America, which includes Hind and Chief Operating Officer, Eric Droof.

The merger will not include the Industrial Construction Division of Moretrench, which will operate as a separate business, Moretrench Industrial, within the Keller North American organisation, as will the other non-geotechnical construction subsidiaries of Keller, Suncoast Post-Tension and Cyntech. The instrumentation and monitoring subsidiary, GEO-Instruments, will also remain a separate brand.

“This will be a significant step forward for the largest division of the Keller Group,” said Alain Michaelis, UK-based Chief Executive of the global Keller Group. “The team has done a great job in assessing and planning for a successful implementation of the subsidiaries in North America and we are confident that these actions will further differentiate Keller as the leading geotechnical contractor in North America.”


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