Clearwater’s £130m deals tally highlights buoyant market

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The Nottingham office of advisers Clearwater Corporate Finance is celebrating a bumper first half, underlining the strength of the East Midlands deals market.

The Clearwater team advised on transactions worth £130 million during the period from January to June 2007, including acquisitions and disposals, management buy-outs and investment deals.

Rob Britton, partner with Clearwater in Nottingham said: “The deals market is buoyant. In particular we have seen lots of activity in the support services, construction and IT sectors. There is strong competition among buyers so solid businesses with strong growth potential can expect to achieve high prices. Both trade and financial buyers are active in the market, with trade recently winning out over private equity buyers because they have strategic reasons for an acquisition – such as economies of scale or cross-selling opportunities – so are willing to pay more.”

Britton predicts that the East Midlands market will see more international deals in the year ahead.

He adds: “The deals market in general is taking on an increasingly international flavour and this will start to impact more on the regional market in the coming year. This holds opportunities for shareholders seeking to sell their business as it creates a wider pool of potential purchasers.”

Amongst the deals which Clearwater’s Nottingham office have recently advised on were:

  • the £50 million buy-in management buy-out (BIMBO) of Lincoln-based TransLinc, one of the country’s foremost suppliers of specialist vehicles to local authorities
  • the acquisition of Nottingham and Warwick-based SOL Construction by Rok plc, the building maintenance and development company
  • the MBO of Star Sportswear, a long-established Yorkshire family firm which owns the Prostar brand and is a market leader in supplying kit for amateur footballers
  • the acquisition by Helphire Group plc of the Chesterfield-based CS2 Group of companies and commercial agreement with CS2 Lawyers, which provide a range of motor claims management services
  • the sale of Go Plant, the specialist vehicle hire group with 20 UK depots, to private investment vehicle Easternrange
  • the sale of Buildspan (which has an operation in Dronfield), one of the UK’s leading distributors of construction products, by private equity house Dunedin and other shareholders to SIG plc
  • the sale of Oxfordshire-based Kendric Ash, which helps local government clients to improve performance, to Northgate Information Solutions UK

Britton adds: “The growing demand for our services has fully justified our faith in the East Midlands market. We have just about finished refurbishing our offices in Castle Gate and are currently seeking to expand the eight-strong Nottingham team with the recruitment of two further deal leaders. This investment highlights our long-term commitment to the city and our confidence in the future of the regional market.”