Arcadis, the Dutch-based environmental and infrastructure engineering giant, announced July 6 that it has acquired RTKL Associates, the architect-engineer. Based in Baltimore, RTKL ranks 61st on Engineering News-Record’s list of Top 500 Design Firms, with more than $203 million in 2006 revenue. Arcadis will not integrate RTKL, which has 1,050 employees, into its operations but will operate RTKL as a wholly owned subsidiary. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

RTKL’s 100 or so shareholders consisted of senior management, vice presidents and principals of the company, and all of them voted in favor of the sale, says Arcadis CEO Harrie Noy. The action continues Arcadis' move into the buildings and architecture sector and is another example of a consolidation trend.

“There are a lot of firms in the $75-million to $500-million range that are in the eat-or-be-eaten period and have to determine whether to scale up through acquisition or expand (on their own),” says Steve Gido, a principal with Zweig White’s financial advisory services group in Washington, D.C.

For its part, RTKL saw the benefit of the sale in terms of resources. “It gives us the resources to define the next generation of the global architecture and design practice,” says David C. Hudson, RTKL chief executive officer. The deal also expands the company’s geographical reach.

Paul Jacob, RTKL’s chairman, says the deal merges what RTKL sees as its expertise in the built environment with Arcadis’ expertise “in front-end environmental services, infrastructure and program management.” He says that large-scale development is becoming more complex and more reliant on multidisciplinary and sustainable approaches.

One form of the consolidation trend is that of U.S. firms linking with overseas entities. Last month, U.K.-based RMJM Group acquired Hillier Architecture, based in Princeton, New Jersey. Arcadis, meanwhile, acquired construction management firm PinnacleOne last November. Overall the firm reported $1.7 billion of revenue in 2006.

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