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Jacobs Engineering to buy Sinclair Knight Merz for $1.2 billion

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Jacobs Engineering Group Inc , one of the world's largest construction consulting firms, said on Sunday it would acquire Australian employee-owned consultancy Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) for approximately A$1.3 billion ($1.2 billion) in cash.

Jacobs has been looking for new projects in the oil and gas and chemicals sectors and has historically turned to acquisitions to expand its market presence. It has bought six other companies in the last three years.

The Pasadena, California-based company, which has a market value of about $7.6 billion, said in a statement that the acquisition of SKM was expected to be accretive to its earnings once it is completed by the end of the first quarter of its fiscal 2014 year.

"Our capabilities and geographies have little overlap, enabling the combined companies to continue to expand client relationships and provide significant opportunities for employees," Jacobs Chief Executive Craig Martin said in the statement.

SKM, which has operations in Australia, Asia, South America and Britain, and serves clients in sectors ranging from mining to power plant construction, had $1.2 billion in revenue in 2012, Jacobs said.

In July, Jacobs reported net earnings for the nine months ending June 28 of $312.3 million, up from $271.5 million over the same period a year earlier.

(Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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