BWB ready to expand after acquisition by Spanish engineering giant CAF Group

Design engineering consultancy BWB is set to embark on significant expansion after being acquired by the Spanish global transport engineering giant CAF Group.

Headquartered in Spain, CAF has annual revenues in excess of €1.3bn and designs, manufactures, maintains and supplies equipment and components for rail systems across the globe. BWB employs more than 300 people across seven offices covering England’s main cities and has an annual turnover of more than £23m.

In addition to rolling stock, CAF provides integrated rail solutions for all types of rail systems -  feasibility studies, design of civil engineering, electrification and signalling works, maintenance and system operation services.

It is acquiring BWB in a phased transaction over the next three years. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but BWB’s entire management team, led by CEO Steve Wooler, is staying with the business and will continue to direct and drive its growth strategy. While BWB will remain a standalone business, it will be positioned alongside CAF Group’s turnkey engineering subsidiary, CAF TE – a technology leader in rail systems engineering.

The transaction will enable BWB to accelerate its plans to explore and exploit new opportunities arising from access to new markets, technological advances and major trends in society such as the drive for Smart Cities. It is also expected to play a key role in CAF’s ambitions to diversify and expand the group’s presence in English-speaking markets around the globe.

Announcing the deal, BWB Group chief executive Steve Wooler said: “This is undoubtedly the most exciting moment in the history of our business. We started from small beginnings in Nottingham in the UK’s Midlands and have grown to become one of the most agile and entrepreneurial design engineering consultancies in the UK, driven by a very talented leadership team.

“We believe there is a once in a lifetime opportunity for BWB, over the next decade or so, to play a leading role in digital engineering, Smart Cities, and colossal investment in infrastructure, not just here in the UK but across the world. Becoming part of a hugely respected business like CAF not only unlocks the door to that opportunity, it materially extends BWB’s horizons.”

Josu Imaz, CAF Group’s chief officer, subsidiaries and corporate development, said: “We see BWB Consulting as the best of British design engineering. It has strong leadership, a talented team of people, and complements our own culture of versatility and flexibility. We have ambitious plans to diversify our business, to extend our turnkey engineering activities, and we see BWB playing an important role in that strategy.

“We are already committed to substantial investment in the UK through CAF Rail UK. With BWB, we will put the resources in place that will enable them to pursue both their own strategy and to work together with CAF to explore new markets and new opportunities.”

BWB Consulting was founded in Nottingham more than 25 years ago as a structural engineering business. It underwent a management buyout in 2008 and has grown into an integrated multidisciplinary consultancy delivering advice and solutions nationally for private and public sector clients in buildings, the built and natural environment, and transport and infrastructure.

CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles) was founded over 100 years ago in Spain’s Basque Country. It has become a global force in transport engineering, employing around 8,000 people, and its main presence in the UK is its CAF Rail operation, based at the TechnoCentre in Coventry.

If you would like to contact Andy Walker about this, or any other story, please email