Cegertec becomes master of his destiny again. The Saguenean company buys the shares of Cegertec / WorleyParsons, which has the effect of repatriating the decision-making power into a single entity, Cegertec inc.
The decision comes five years after the consulting engineering firm partnered with Australian giant WorleyParsons. At the time, the market gave the impression of growth through the development of the Plan Nord, mines and metals, the Énergie Est project and other projects related to consulting engineering. This was not the case and, like its former partner, Cegertec’s sales have fallen in recent years. In 2012, the firm had 500 employees. This number has since been cut in half.
Cegertec’s Chairman of the Board Jeannot Harvey approached WorleyParsons senior management about ten months ago to share his plans to acquire half of WorleyParsons’ shares. “The goal was to allow us to have much more flexibility in new directions and diversification,” the businessman said during a long telephone interview. That is what we are doing now and we are doing quite well in that. ”
For example, Cegertec, in collaboration with its Cegerco division, has secured close to $ 20 million in nuclear contracts in Quebec and Ontario. The engineering section is provided by Cegertec, while Cegerco is responsible for the construction component.
“We did not fight to buy back our shares, WorleyParsons leaders understand our position to open up to other markets,” says Jeannot Harvey, adding that WorleyParsons and Cegertec will continue to work in partnership on different projects . Right now, the strongest branch for us is nuclear, when we were not there a year ago. We are diversifying our markets outside of Quebec, and as I said before, if we do not leave the region, we can close our businesses as well. ”
Due to various factors, the regional firm was no longer able to keep pace with WorleyParsons, Harvey agrees. He believes that separation is not the fault of either company, but especially that of the economic market. The decision was therefore the best one to allow Cegertec to enjoy greater autonomy.
“If you do not go outside, you’re going to die,” the president warned. So for us, to have that flexibility, we asked our partner to release us because for a small company like ours, WorleyParsons was too hard to follow as a multinational. ”
Now that the union between Cegertec and WorleyParsons is a thing of the past, Jeannot Harvey does not close the door to a new association with global players. Over the past five years, alongside WorleyParsons, Cegertec has built a good reputation and strengthened contacts on the international stage.
“We are in discussions with people, confirms the president who maintains that Cegertec is more mature than five years ago. Some companies that are based in Europe want to set up business in Quebec. The future will tell us how it all will turn out, but we have discussions and we are listening. ”
Ready for riskier decisions
Cegertec believes that it is in a position to make riskier decisions than in its association with WorleyParsons. Risks that the Australian-based consulting engineering firm certainly did not mind, but the longer consultation process cut off business opportunities, which Cegertec would have gladly welcomed.
“We no longer need to ask anyone for permission to embark on projects that are a little more risky,” says Jeannot Harvey. We are now more agile in accomplishing difficult things. We no longer have to go to Australia to get permissions. We make decisions that are often a bit risky, but are taken internally in the Ceger group, which controls Cegertec. One is a smaller group of people to discuss so decision making comes more quickly. Before, it was necessary to convince several people and the opportunity was not even there when the decision arrived. ”
Jeannot Harvey is supported by his daughter Éloise Harvey at the helm of the company, in addition to his son-in-law, Stéphane Leduc, who is President and CEO of Cegertec. The latter was also an important part in the development of nuclear power for Cegertec and Cegerco. André Salesse also received good words from Mr. Harvey. This group controls the reins of the firm, whose head office is located on Racine Street in Chicoutimi.
If Cegertec has declined over the past five years, the future looks pink again. “For the past six months, the trend has changed and we have begun to re-engage,” says Jeannot Harvey. Our diversification allows us to grow. Had it not been decided to opt for greater diversity, the situation could have been dramatic. ”
Mecfor is another company belonging to the Ceger group.