£14 million MBO helps consultancy build for the future

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Building services consultancy Foreman Roberts, which has advised on such high-profile projects as Wembley Stadium, Wimbledon and the Olympics site, has undergone a £14.7 million management buy-out.

Clearwater Corporate Finance advised the vendor Barry Shaw on the deal, exploring both trade sale and buyout alternatives, culminating in the MBO deal backed by NVM Private Equity Limited and HSBC.

Foreman Roberts, which has headquarters in London and offices in Manchester, Oxford and the Isle of Man, provides building design and advisory services primarily to the office, technology, retail and education sectors.

The company has worked for clients including Heron Group, Land Securities and Quintain on a wide range of projects such as Heron Tower, Bankside, Bluewater, Wimbledon and Wembley.

Demand for sustainable construction techniques and new building standards are driving demand for building consultancy services. Foreman Roberts is also benefiting from the rapid growth of the construction industry as a whole thanks to urban regeneration projects and specific contracts such as the Olympics, Wembley and Heathrow Terminal.

The MBO team was led by managing director Stuart Alexander, who has been instrumental in doubling the company’s profit since his appointment in 2004. A new non-executive chairman Clive Williams, whose former roles have included managing partner of Ernst & Young and CEO of Capgemini UK, has also joined the board. NVM provided £7m funding for the deal.

Barry Shaw, the founder who built Foreman Roberts over 23 years through a series of acquisitions, said: “Foreman Roberts has grown to become a leading building services consultancy with a strong track record for providing sustainable engineering solutions. Stuart Alexander has played a major role in driving the company forward over the past three years and is the ideal candidate to lead it through the next phase of its development.”

Nick Jones, partner at Clearwater Corporate Finance said: “The building services engineering market is undergoing a dramatic change due to demand for sustainable solutions within the construction industry and the need to meet new legislation to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. Foreman Roberts is well placed to take advantage of this thanks to its specialist knowledge of sustainable construction techniques.

“This deal will give the management team the autonomy to build on the company’s considerable success to date, and will provide funding to fuel its expansion both in the UK and overseas.”