A GROUND investigations business has been taken over by a fellow market operator.

Ian Farmer Associates is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of environmental consultancy RSK.

Bosses say the deal for the business, which runs a base in Washington, Wearside, has secured more than 100 jobs.

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They added senior officials Ken and John Marsh will also stay on to help with the integration, which will see Ian Farmer Associates become part of RSK’s geosciences and engineering division.

Ian Farmer Associates has carried out ground investigations since 1985, building a client base of consulting engineers, builders, developers, architects, utilities, local authorities and government organisations.

With an annual turnover of £10m, its principal areas of work are ground investigation, covering geotechnical and geo-environmental services, and construction and built environment services.

Director John Marsh said the deal will allow the business to grow further in the market.

He said: “Joining forces with such a distinguished and compatible company as RSK makes for a very strong relationship.

“It offers us the opportunity to provide existing clients with new services and expand our expertise and offerings across the RSK portfolio.

Dr Alan Ryder, chief executive at RSK, which also includes the ADAS agricultural and environmental consultancy based near Malton, North Yorkshire, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Ian Farmer to the RSK family.

“It has extremely experienced and skilled professionals who share our common values.”

The sale was brokered by accountancy firm Clive Owen, which has an office on the outskirts of Durham City and a fellow site in Darlington.

David Wilson, associate director of Clive Owen Corporate Finance, said: “We have worked closely with Ian Farmer and supporting this disposal has been a particularly satisfying experience because the outcomes have been so beneficial for everyone involved.

“Our team had a busy 2017 and this deal, for a very longstanding client, was one of the highlights.”

Clive Owen worked with Tilly Bailey & Irvine, which has offices in Stockton and Barnard Castle, County Durham, on the deal.

The law firm’s Craig Malarkey added: “This was our first time working with the shareholders and Ian Farmer directors, and we were thrilled to have assisted them, alongside Clive Owen, to secure completion of the deal.”