MCOS staff to get €3.38m windfall as RPS buys firm


RPS chief executive Dr Alan Hearne said the staff payment was a point of principle for the company. When it acquired Dublin-based environmental engineering consultancy EEL, 220 employees shared a €1.27 million windfall.

The 350 employees of an Irish firm of consulting engineers and environmental consultants will receive a €3.38 million windfall following the company's sale to RPS, Europe's largest environmental consultancy.

Part of the deal involves the payment of the €3.38 million discretionary bonus to MC O'Sullivan Ltd (MCOS) employees. The payments will depend on seniority and length of service, but averages €9,657 per employee.

"All MCOS staff will be retained by the new firm. In recognition of long-serving staff being central to the success of MCOS, arrangements have been made for a significant payment to staff from the proceeds of the transaction," MCOS said.

"A consultancy business is only as good as its staff and unless you treat the staff well, they're going to find somebody else to work for, so it's a vital part of the package," said Dr Hearne.

RPS is paying an initial consideration of €17.9 million, of which €15.47 million was paid in cash and €2.43 was satisfied by the issue of nearly 1,034 RPS shares at £1.462 sterling per share. Deferred payments of up to €16.18 million will be made in cash, loan notes (up to €14.87 million) and shares (up to €1.31 million) over the next two years subject to certain financial and operational conditions being fulfilled.

The biggest beneficiary for the deal is Mr Kerry O'Sullivan, a founding director, shareholder and chairman of MCOS, who held a 40 per cent stake in the company.

The remaining beneficiaries include fellow founding directors, Mr Brendan O'Halloran, who held a 20 per cent stake, and Mr Jerry Grant, Mr P.J. Rudden and Mr Kevin Power, who each held 5 per cent. The remaining shareholding was held by senior staff.

RPS director Mr Lawrence Hughes has been appointed managing director of MCOS and Mr O'Sullivan will continue as chairman. Mr Grant, Mr Rudden and Mr Power will be joined on the MCOS board by Mr Gary Doyle and Mr Seamus Tully from RPS. Mr O'Halloran is retiring and will act as consultant to the new firm.

MCOS operates primarily on infrastructure projects in the public sector. It is currently advising Bord Gáis on the €380 million Dublin-Galway-Limerick gas pipeline project and has devised five of the seven regional waste management plans for Dublin, the Midlands, the Mid-West, the North-East and Connaught. MCOS also advises 25 local authorities on the implementation of waste management plans.

The company had turnover of €25.32 million and profit before tax of €3.44 million after exceptional charges of €0.23 million for the year ended March 31st, 2002.

It is the third major acquisition by RPS in the Republic. Two years ago it acquired EEL for €12.7 million, while last year it bought Dublin planning consultancy McHugh Consultants for €7 million.