- The shareholders of Italian infrastructure company Salini Impregilo approved the company's name change to Webuild during its annual meeting this week. The company said the new name sends a message that it is "bigger, stronger and ready to serve the nation."
- The contractor's board of directors approved the Webuild name change proposal in January but needed shareholder approval before moving forward with rebranding. The "build" portion of the name reflects the company's history of building large infrastructure projects and its "values of solidarity, quality and partnership." The "We" represents the important role people and teams play "in a business in which sustainability and safety are fundamental."
- Launching the Webuild brand is part of the firm's Progetto Italia (Project Italy) initiative, a plan to create a large Italian construction group that can compete more effectively for $680 billion in large, global infrastructure projects as well as an estimated $173 billion in domestic infrastructure projects.
By creating a new construction group, supported by a major investment bank and other financial institutions, Webuild said it could perhaps kickstart approximately $39 billion worth of stalled infrastructure projects, many of which are in Southern Italy. Globally, Webuild said the new group will target projects valued at $250 billion or more.
Webuild is in the midst of purchasing Italian construction group Astaldi, which is moving through the bankruptcy process. The acquisition is also part of the Progetto Italia plan.
Astaldi filed for bankruptcy protection October 2018 then defaulted on three U.S. projects in April 2019. Its customer, the Florida DOT, said that Astaldi's U.S. unit, Astaldi Construction Corp., voluntarily pulled out of four highway projects totaling at least $1.7 billion. Astaldi, its sureties and the FDOT worked together to get subcontractors paid during the transition to new general contractors.
Webuild also owns Lane Industries, which does business in the U.S. as The Lane Construction Corp., a major player in the country's infrastructure sector.
Texas Central, the developer of the $20 billion high-speed train between Houston and Dallas, announced in September that it had hired Webuild and Lane to provide an estimated $14 billion of design-build services to the project. Prior to that, the two had been performing strategy, logistics, cost analysis and scheduling work for the project. The joint venture will also design and build viaducts and embankments, install track, as well as align and construct maintenance and equipment buildings.
Lane is also part of the design-build group, along with Fluor and Traylor Bros. Inc., that pulled out of the Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA) $2 billion Purple Line light-rail project this week. Purple Line Transit Constructors said it had failed to reach an agreement with the MTA on delays and cost overruns and that third-party lawsuits trying to stop the project, delayed right-of-way acquisitions and other problems forced it to walk away.