Global firm's buy-out could have an impact on jobs in Grimsby

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 Feb 2019

A buy-out of a key global division of Jacobs, which includes the former LES business in Grimsby could have an impact on jobs in the town, it is understood. 

Australian multi-national engineering giant WorleyParsons is finalising a buy-out of Jacobs' energy, chemicals and resources division, ranked number one worldwide, having agreed a $3.3 billion deal in October.

When LES was sold to the US corporation 11 years ago by Mike Jex, one of Grimsby’s pioneering engineering brothers, it employed 700 people and was a specialist in mechanical, instrumentation, and electrical installations for the process and utility industries.

However, the site has recently lost a large amount of work on Total Lindsey Oil Refinery to British business Wood, and with long term client Novartis also closing its huge Grimsby operation, it could face a challenging future.

WorleyParsons describes the far wider division, operational in 27 countries, as a leading global technical services provider across hydrocarbons, chemicals and mining and minerals, with a "global footprint with long-term, blue-chip relationships in key strategic markets".

The Jacobs site in Grimsby has lost a large amount of work in recent years (Image: Jon Corken/Grimsby Live)

Jacobs' chairman and chief executive Steve Demetriou has said the deal will allow it to focus "solely on its two higher growth, higher margin lines of business – aerospace, technology, environmental and nuclear and buildings, infrastructure and advanced facilities, reducing cycliality".

How the move will impact the local workforce, decimated in a decade with many moving on to rivals with contract wins, remains to be seen, but initial meetings are understood to have been held this week.

Locally no-one was available for comment, with a response from the US awaited.

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WorleyParsons chief executive Andrew Wood said: "We are excited to combine Jacobs ECR's world-class capabilities with our global platform to create a leader across our key focus sectors.

"The transaction will bring complementary capabilities in key business lines, including a best-in-class onshore and downstream maintenance, modifications and operations capability allowing customers to benefit from as expended integrated solutions offering, while our employees will have increased opportunity for development as part of the leading global project delivery provider in our sectors."

The buy-out is anticipated to close in the first half of this year.

LES sold a year after Jex Engineering, headed by Tony Jex, was bought by Redhall Group. In early 2018 the name that carried so much weight in industry left Grimsby, having significantly downsized as a new generation of owner-operated engineering firms came to the fore, including On Line, Blackrow, Allied Protek and Intelect.

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