Clearwater Corporate Finance advises Sure Maintenance on expansion capital package

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Graphite Capital, the leading UK mid-market private equity specialist, has provided an expansion capital package for Sure Maintenance, the fast growing provider of domestic heating maintenance services to local authorities and housing associations.

Sure is based in Manchester and Liverpool. Sure has capitalised on the growing trend for local authorities and housing associations to adopt “best value” and long term partnering contracts with their suppliers.

Sure has won these contracts by ensuring excellence and consistency in the service it provides to clients such as the Metropolitan Borough of Bury and Golden Gates Housing.

The company is committed to working alongside both tenants and social landlords to provide a level of service that sets it apart from other providers in the market.

Managing director Heikki Viitikko and his team will use the expansion funds to pursue the company’s ambitious growth plans. The transaction will widen Sure’s shareholder base and achieve a partial equity release for existing shareholders.

In the North West alone, the gas heating maintenance and replacement market is worth around £152 million. The market is growing in response to government initiatives aimed at providing higher quality services and housing to local authority and housing association tenants and at modernising procurement.

Unlike many of the smaller service providers, Sure has the systems and processes to comply with the stringent new service standards.

Services typically involve annual safety checks, responsive repairs and planned replacement of appliances. Sure currently services 70,000 properties; processes and completes over 250,000 jobs each year; attends emergency call-outs on time in over 99 per cent of cases; and completes every service programme safely and on time.

Viitikko said: “We had several options for developing the business but we felt that our partnership with Graphite would provide the necessary institutional backing to fund our growth strategy. We believe that Sure is now extremely well placed to exploit the significant opportunities available through ‘best value’ and partnering agreements with social landlords.”

Graphite Capital partner, Markus Golser, said: “We were attracted by Sure’s understanding of and response to this rapidly changing and demanding marketplace. We were very impressed with the feedback we had from Sure’s customers on the strong relationship the company builds with its clients and the solid quality of the workmanship it provides.”

The company has appointed Fran Silk (formerly of Express Dairies and Northern Foods) as finance director and Nick Butcher (who previously headed DHL’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations) as chairman. Simon Marsh has been promoted to assistant managing director.

Sure was advised by Paul Jones and Brian Millrine of Clearwater Corporate Finance. Jones, a partner of the firm, commented: “Sure is able to meet the ever-increasing demands of social landlords, sharing the common goal to improve service delivery to tenants. The business is well positioned to achieve significant growth in the future.” Gareth McIntegart of DWF acted as legal adviser to Sure.

Clearwater Corporate Finance is UK’s largest independent corporate finance boutique, focusing exclusively on mid market transactions. Since our re-branding we have completed a variety of successful deals for our clients and won prestigious accolades for our deal making capabilities such as Corporate Finance Advisor of the Year 2003, ahead of E&Y, KPMG and Deloittes, and the boutiques. Importantly, as advisors we have our own in-house analysts and researchers who lend weight to all work that we do allowing us a first class bank of industry knowledge, that coupled with our relationships with all VC’s and banks, puts us in great stead for individually determining the best and most lucrative way to assist potential clients.