At $3 billion, the price for the acquisition of the Shaw Group by CB&I is an obvious tribute to Shaw’s Jim Bernhard and his employees. The company became a major player in engineering and construction. It is clearly a desirable addition to the Dutch-based owner.
Nevertheless, the acquisition cannot but be a cause of some concern by community leaders in Baton Rouge, where some 1,000 people employed by the company are based.
We hope that job losses are not great, although the CB&I headquarters in suburban Houston will likely absorb some Shaw workers in back-office functions.
With the Baton Rouge Area Chamber and others, we hope that CB&I will find that Baton Rouge remains a place where Shaw operations can be not only sustained but grown.
Stephen Moret, head of the state Department of Economic Development, noted that CB&I Shaw is well-positioned to grow its U.S. energy business. Most of CB&I’s employees before the merger were overseas.
The level of ability demonstrated in Shaw’s growth to date gives us every indication that Louisiana and Baton Rouge could continue to be a vital part of the new company’s growth plans for the future.