Clearwater International has advised the shareholders of Herbert T Forrest Ltd (HT Forrest), a provider of construction services to the social housing sector, on a cash out and refinancing transaction. The deal was backed by LDC, with a debt package from RBS.
HT Forrest is a successful company that has established an excellent reputation for social housing refurbishment and regeneration. Founded in 1955 as a small joinery and manufacturing firm, Preston-based HT Forrest has evolved into a major regional player. The business has worked in partnership with both the public and private sector for over 20 years, gaining extensive experience in major home improvement projects.
The company has seen its turnover rise from £9 million in 2003 to £40 million in 2007 and has become one of the fastest-growing companies in its sector, refurbishing in excess of 11,000 homes per annum. It has established pro-active partnerships with a number of local authorities and other social landlords, and has extensive experience in urban renewal programmes and block repair schemes.
Clearwater advised the shareholders on the deal, which enables a number of them who are not currently involved in operations to realise their investment in the business. It also allows the current senior management team to take an equity stake in the rapidly growing company.
The Clearwater team, comprising partner Carl Houghton and director Nick Horrocks, structured the deal and gained private equity backing from LDC. This is Clearwater’s fourth deal in the sector in two years and follows the private equity deals for Sure Maintenance and Jackson Lloyd, and the recent trade sale of Sol Construction to Rok plc.
The opportunities for maintenance firms working in the social housing market have grown rapidly due to rising government spending in the sector. The Decent Homes Standard introduced in 2000 has seen a commitment to annually invest £10 billion to bring all social housing up to an acceptable standard.