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RSK Group to acquire Water Research Centre

  • RSK Group to acquire Water Research Centre

About the entity

Water Research Centre (WRc)
We are established innovation leaders who work with our clients to develop and implement valued solutions. We are an employee-controlled organisation which operate across different sectors including water, environment, waste and resources and gas.
Schneider Electric


Water Research Centre Ltd (WRc), an independent centre of excellence for innovation and growth, and its subsidiary Cognica have said RSK Group Ltd, a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services business, has announced the acquisition of WRc. WRc boasts more than 90 years of delivering leading, technical research and innovation services to the global water, waste management and energy sectors. Cognica is a leading provider of intelligent information management solutions and services to the construction and estate management markets. The businesses are based in Swindon, UK, and are RSK’s seventh and eighth acquisitions of 2020.

WRc’s 170 employees bring a shared purpose of discovering and delivering new and exciting solutions that enable its clients to meet the challenges of the future. These clients include regulators, water and gas utility companies, governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, trade organisations, industrial manufacturers and waste management companies.

Its 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 the home of The National Centre for Environmental Toxicology, an expert team of scientists and toxicologists offering a toxicology-on-demand subscription service for its clients.

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 and Water Authority in the UAE; and is providing water sector specialist expertise for the Department for International Trade in the UK. In addition, working with Water UK, WRc has developed and is delivering the worlds’ first standard for flushable products, Fine to Flush, to protect UK sewers and water bodies. Furthermore, it is working with its partners to deliver the Hydro Nation water innovation service, which is helping to drive the uptake of innovative technologies in Scotland.

“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,” says RSK Chief Executive Officer and Founder Alan Ryder. “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.”

WRc and Cognica will continue to be led by WRc Chief Executive Officer Mark Smith and will become part of RSK’s agriculture, land and property management division.

“Both WRc and RSK offer world-class engineering and technical services to solve clients’ problems. Both companies employ top-class and passionate people who care about the environment,” Mark says. “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.”

Agriculture, Land and Property Management Divisional Director Ian Strudwick comments, “I am absolutely delighted to welcome WRc into the RSK group and look forward to working with Mark and his dedicated team. 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. 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.””

WRc and Cognica are the latest acquisitions under RSK’s funding package from Ares Capital Europe and a revolving credit facility provided by NatWest announced in December 2018. The businesses are RSK’s fourth and fifth acquisitions of the 2020/2021 financial year, following the acquisition of asbestos removal specialist PA Group and civil and structural engineering company RoC Consulting in July.

RSK is investing in the development of new businesses and bolt-on complementary businesses, as well as equipment and facilities, to provide end-to-end solutions to a wide, international client base.

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