At Clearwater International, it is not just about adding value by identifying opportunities for clients. It is about having the skills and expertise to actually deliver on complex deals.
Cross-border transactions, which form an ever-growing part of our business, show off our skills and expertise to the full.
A highlight last year saw us advise FINOBA on its sale to Chinese Automotive Engineering Corp, a subsidiary of Sinomach Group. FINOBA is a processing and machining specialist for lightweight aluminium- and magnesium-based die-casted components.
The deal demonstrates both the increasing strategic importance of lightweight materials in the automotive sector, and the significance of technology and customer access for Chinese companies pursuing international growth strategies.
In another cross-border transaction, we advised SFS Europe – France’s largest specialist producer of construction insurance – on its acquisition by CBL Corporation, a credit and financial risk insurer from New Zealand.
INTERNATIONAL BUYER RELATIONSHIPS
We have developed particularly strong links with US trade buyers. A highlight was advising Union Square, a provider of information management software to the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industries, on its sale to Deltek. Union Square has experienced strong international growth in Australia and recently expanded operations into Europe and Canada. Deltek’s presence and significant customer portfolio in the US represents a huge opportunity for the cross-selling of Union Square’s software. We also advised Danish IT services company Frontsafe on its sale to NASDAQ-listed J2 Global.
As these US deals show, the root of so many cross-border transactions is the search for innovative new technologies and services. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is widely regarded as the future of business communication as it moves to a cloud-based, unified, communications environment. German business Snom was one of the world’s first manufacturers of VoIP telephones, and we advised the company and HeidelbergCapital Private Equity on the sale to Hong Kong-listed VTech Holdings.
Another deal saw us advise ChargePoint Technology, a designer and manufacturer of specialist high containment and sterile transfer valves, on investment from private equity firm LDC to drive further international expansion. Operating across Europe, Asia and North America, the company’s patented technology is used in the development and manufacture of medicines and vaccines by almost every major pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The ChargePoint transaction highlighted another growing and significant trend in the market, namely the rise of alternative funding options. As part of the deal, leading alternative credit investment firm Crescent Capital supported LDC.
Debt markets across Europe continue to see a broadening of debt providers with the structures available becoming ever more innovative. This provides an increased range of options to borrowers who are looking to fund business growth or undertake change of ownership transactions.
Our debt advisory team has, in a short space of time, built up a very strong reputation for doing deals with these new providers and this trend shows no signs of easing with traditional banks establishing strategic links with specialist debt funds.
For an example of sector expertise, the travel and leisure sector has undergone a wave of M&A activity in recent times and we have been at the heart of it.
Acquired by the Carlyle Group in 2014, Homair Vacances has become one of the most acquisitive players across Europe, buying Eurocamp and Al Fresco in the UK, as well as the European Camping Group (ECG), a leading player in the Dutch, Danish and German markets.
We are also close to the UK market. After advising holiday park operator Park Resorts on a debt and equity refinance, this paved the way for a €70m investment by private equity group Epiris which later merged the company with Parkdean Holidays to create the UK’s biggest holiday park operator.
Our expertise has been widely acknowledged across the corporate finance industry and beyond over the past year with a string of award nominations.
We were shortlisted for European Corporate Finance House of the Year at the 2017 Private Equity awards and for the corporate finance category at the HealthInvestor awards 2017, while we were winners of Corporate Finance Team of the Year at the Dealmakers awards in the UK.
Our Danish team were top financial advisor in the country in league tables produced by MergerMarket based on deal volume. The team was credited with 13 deals during the period, of which nine were crossborder involving companies from Germany, Sweden, the US, the UK, France and Italy.
The success of individuals across the business has also been highlighted. MergerMarket named three of our team among the top 20 financial advisers including Mark Taylor (UK), Søren Nørbjerg (Nordics) and José Lemos (Iberia). And Tom Barnwell was shortlisted for North West Insider Young Accountant of the Year in the UK.
Advising MML Capital Partners on its sale of Optionis Holdco Limited to Arkarius Group
Optionis is a leading provider of accountancy and employment services to the UK’s flexible workforce. The company focuses on the practical needs of a business, offering intelligent and business-critical solutions, to enable a business to grow.
“The team…provided us with considerable reassurance, given their deep experience and knowledge of private equity transactions.” Richard Mayers, Partner, MML Capital Partners
Advising the owners of Dutch European Camping Group on its sale to French Homair Group
Homair’s acquisition of ECG reinforces its position as the European market leader within camping and the group now manages approx. 20,000 mobile homes and tents across Europe
Clearwater International has advised the owners of Dutch European Camping Group (ECG) on its sale to French Homair Group (HOMAIR), the European market leader of camping holidays. In 2016, ECG will assist more than 100,000 guests when booking their camping holidays and short family vacations. The majority of holidays sold are camping under ECG’s high-end brands, Roan and Go4Camp. ECG currently owns 1,500 mobile homes and 1,000 luxury tents on various highly attractive campsites in Italy, France, Croatia and Slovenia. Also, 3rd party camping holidays are sold on the market leading online platforms www.allcamps.nl and www.go4holiday.nl, which are owned and managed by ECG.
Dealmaking success recognised by industry
Shortlisted for Dealmaker of the Year in Denmark.
Advising leading hosting business in Denmark on its acquisition by HgCapital
HgCapital’s objective is to support the Zitcom management team in building a clear champion in the Danish market, based on Zitcom’s excellent reputation for service delivery, unique operating platform and attractive multi-brand strategy.
Clearwater International Denmark acted as financial advisor in the sale of Zitcom to UK-based HgCapital. Zitcom was founded in 2000 and operates under the Wannafind, UnoEuro, Curanet and Zitcom brands. The business has demonstrated 15 years of consistent revenue growth to more than 50,000 business and private customers in Denmark.
Advising leading procurement provider PSL on its sale to Sodexo Global Support Services Limited
“This transaction further demonstrates Clearwater International’s expertise in tech-enabled support services.” Marcus Archer, Partner, Clearwater International
Clearwater International has advised leading procurement provider PSL, on its sale to world leader in quality of life services, Sodexo. Established in 1993, PSL has become a leader in fresh food procurement in the UK with its integrated approach of procurement, operations and systems support. PSL operates within a wide spectrum of the hospitality market including restaurants, hotels, hospitals and contractors amongst others.
Industry recognised expertise
Shortlisted for 2017 HealthInvestor Award: Corporate Financier of the Year, and for 2017 Private Equity Awards: European Corporate Finance House of the Year
Completing cross-border transactions which help clients expand their expertise
“We are delighted to announce the acquisition of Deku-Pack, specialists in point of sale and display solutions for in-store marketing, and look forward to building on our joint expertise in this area.” Miles Roberts, CEO, DS Smith
Clearwater International has advised the owners of Deku-Pack ApS on its cross-border sale to UK-based DS Smith Plc, a leading provider of paper, corrugated packaging and recycled materials across Europe and specialist in plastic packaging worldwide. DS Smith operates across 36 countries and has more than 26,000 employees.
Advising clinical consultancy Four Eyes Insight on its investment by private equity firm Livingbridge
Clearwater International has advised the shareholders of healthcare consultancy, Four Eyes Insight Limited (Four Eyes) on its investment from mid-market private equity firm, Livingbridge. Founded in 2013, Four Eyes is a clinical productivity and service redesign specialist, providing detailed medical workforce plans to acute NHS trusts throughout the UK. Stemming from the founders medical expertise, Four Eyes helps healthcare organisations best utilise their medical teams. Its service offering includes planning for: demand and capacity; resource and constraint and cost improvement, allowing clients to realise savings and reduce patient waiting times.
The investment from Livingbridge will allow Four Eyes to expand its team and infrastructure, and invest further in the software facilities, to implement the firm’s growth plan. The combination of Livingbridge’s experience in supporting consultancies and companies working with the NHS, alongside Four Eyes’ client portfolio will enhance the service offerings available.