RSK takes over Water Research Centre

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RSK takes over Water Research Centre

21 Aug 20 RSK Group’s takeover spree continues with the acquisition of WRc Ltd and its subsidiary Cognica.

WRc chief executive Mark Smith

WRc chief executive Mark Smith

WRc was better known as the government’s Water Research Centre until it was privatised in 1989 and renamed to its shortened form.

Companies House filings show that it turns over £12m year and is (or was until RSK bought it) owned by WRc plc. No owner is listed for WRc plc.

Both WRc and Cognica are based in Swindon. They bring 170 additional employees to RSK and clients that include regulators, water and gas utility companies, governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, trade organisations, industrial manufacturers and waste management companies.

Services include leakage detection; water management; wastewater management; flooding and sewers; environmental modelling; innovation and management consulting; asset management; UKAS-accredited physical testing and validation facilities and services; policy and regulation; UKAS-approved laboratory services; infrastructure assessment services; building information services; and waste-to-resource consulting services. WRc is also home to the National Centre for Environmental Toxicology, which provides a toxicology-on-demand subscription service.

WRc is currently designing the technical engineering work architecture for the water company that will service the NEOM futuristic desert city project in Saudi Arabia. It has also recently developed a water quality sampling and monitoring programme for Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority in the UAE; and is providing water sector specialist expertise for the Department for International Trade in the UK.

RSK has now made 38 acquisitions in the past five years in an array of technical and engineering niches. Other recent acquisitions include asbestos removal specialist PA Group and structural engineer RoC Consulting in July.

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RSK chief executive and founder Alan Ryder said of his latest purchase: "This is a unique acquisition for RSK that brings together an exceptional brand that is renowned for independent thinking and delivery to create an ability to address global issues including climate change, green growth and water and sanitation services through applied engineering excellence.

“WRc's tagline, 'Innovation through collaboration', highlights two of our shared values, so we are delighted to welcome both WRc and its subsidiary Cognica to RSK."


Alan Ryder

Alan Ryder

WRc and Cognica will continue to be led by WRc chief executive Mark Smith and will become part of RSK's agriculture, land and property management division.

Mark Smith said: "RSK's environmental, scientific and engineering capabilities and global presence combined with WRc's leading, independent thinking will enable both companies to deliver ever improving and more sustainable solutions to our clients while promoting the circular economy in everything we do."

RSK divisional director for agriculture, land and property management Ian Strudwick said: "WRc is an iconic brand with an incredible heritage in the water industry and a track record of projects and experience envied across the sector. It is a highly regarded business. WRc carries many synergies with RSK that we look forward to exploring and making the most of. Our plan is to help WRc to grow in the UK and to extend its global footprint, particularly in areas such as Africa and the Middle East where RSK already has a strong foothold in other sectors. I am sure there is going to be a very exciting year ahead."