Business Services Sector Comment – February 2016

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2016 certainly started with a bang for the facilities management (FM) sector, as leading players Servest, France-headquartered id verde SAS and ATALIAN all announced cross-border deals.

Whilst deal numbers in the global FM sector remained robust through 2015 and are expected to grow through 2016, it has been the declining number of cross-border deals that has got people talking. However, 2016 has started fairly strongly as global facilities services company ATALIAN has completed the purchase of US-based Temco Facility Services. ATALIAN, a family owned company with annual revenues of €1.3bn, has been gradually increasing its number of international markets and now operates in 21 countries. The acquisition of Temco provides a platform acquisition into the North American market where Temco generates revenues of $375m (€340m) and provides cleaning, security and associated services to US companies.

Over the last six months, the UK market has also witnessed a growing number of cross-border deals as overseas players look to capitalise on a weak pound and mature market dynamics. Examples include New Delhi-based facilities services provider Tenon Group which acquired Office and General (O&G) Group Ltd; South Africa-based Servest, which recently received backing from Kagiso Tiso Holdings, acquiring the catering division of Accuro FM; and US-based ABM Industries Inc acquiring GBM Support Services and more recently Maven Capital-backed Westway Services.

In addition to these deals, Chequers Capital-owned id verde SAS has been particularly acquisitive as the group recently announced the acquisition of Quadron Services Limited, a specialist ground maintenance company working for local authorities. The deal follows the France-based group’s initial purchase of The Landscape Group (TLG) in March last year which provided an exit for Elysian Capital.

Furthermore, with Willmott Dixon recently announcing that it has appointed corporate finance advisors to sell its Willmott Dixon Partnerships and Willmott Dixon Energy Services divisions, and Bilfinger, which is currently under pressure from 26% activist investor Cevian, seeking a buyer for its Building and Facility division, more large scale deals in the facilities management sector are likely to follow.

Clearwater International has a long track record in both the hard and soft FM sectors, most recently advising contract caterer Waterfall on its sale to LDC. To receive a copy of our upcoming Clearthought publication on the Facilities Management sector, please email Sarah Fernandez.

Notable Business Services Deals

WISAG Service Holding GmbH & Co. KG, a Germany-based provider of technical and infrastructure services, has acquired NR Neue Raumpflege GmbH & Co. KG, a Germany-based company engaged in providing facility services, for an undisclosed consideration.

Belcan Corporation, the US-based provider of engineering consultancy services and technical staffing solutions – and a portfolio company of US-based private equity firm AE Industrial Partners LLC, has acquired East Kilbride Engineering Services Ltd, the UK-based engineering consultancy firm.

Sanclare (UK) Ltd (trading as Sanclare Financial), the UK-based business process outsourcing company and a subsidiary of Digicall Group, has acquired The Sigma Financial Group Ltd, the UK-based credit management and business outsourcing company.

Swift Worldwide Resources, the US-based company providing staffing solutions for the oil and gas industry, and Air Energi Group Ltd, the UK-based company providing recruitment solutions for the oil and gas sector, have merged. Both Swift and Air Energi have merged to form a new company – Airswift Holdings Limited.

Ashtead Plant Hire Company Ltd (A-Plant), the UK-based company providing tools and equipment for rent to construction companies, has acquired Rapid Climate Control Ltd, the UK-based company engaged in leasing and selling of portable and fixed air conditioning and heating systems.

Grovepoint Capital LLP and Rubicon Partners Ltd, the UK-based principal investment firms, have acquired Enserve Group Ltd, the UK-based provider of infrastructure support services to the commercial, public and utility sectors, from Cinven Partners LLP. The deal is estimated to be valued at approximately £60m (€76m).

AcadeMedia AB, the Sweden-based provider of private education services and a portfolio company of US-based private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC and Sweden-based private equity firm EQT Partners AB, has agreed to acquire Joki Kinderbetreuung Pasing GmbH, the Germany-based company engaged in providing pre-school, kindergarten and nursery school services.

Capita plc, the listed UK-based provider of business process outsourcing services, management consultancy and finance & treasury management, has acquired Brightwave Ltd, the UK-based company engaged in providing e-learning services.

Italy-based private equity firm Aksia Group – along with the existing shareholders of Contacta SpA, an Italy-based company engaged in providing call centre services, and Visiant Contact srl, an Italy-based company engaged in offering business process outsourcing solutions – has acquired the companies for an undisclosed consideration.