We’ve seen some interesting deals in the industrials sector this week, as Triton-backed OCU picked up an engineering contractor, Ambienta’s Wateralia acquired a distributor of water pumps and spare parts and Aurelius exited a distributor of electronic components. We also had an in-depth piece on Cerberus’ sale of Worldwide Flight Services.
Elsewhere, Partners Group is reportedly among several bidders for Azets, one of the UK’s top 10 accountants by revenue.
To mix up the sector coverage a bit more, we also have Cinven agreeing to take a majority stake in a B2B distributor of products and services used in the energy transition market.
Let’s start with the potential deal. Partners Group is among the bidders for Azets, an accountancy firm formed by the former boss of Deloitte’s UK operations, according to a report by Sky News.
London-headquartered Azets is an accountants and business advisory group providing audit, payroll, corporate finance, tax and banking and finance services.
Partners Group is one of several bidders which have made it to the second round of an auction run by bankers at JP Morgan, Sky News understands.
Azets is currently majority owned by Hg. The firm supported the formation of Azets in 2016 through the merger of Visma BPO, Blick Rothenberg and Baldwins.
The auction of Azets has seen interest from Apax Partners and PAI Partners, according to Sky News’ sources.
We’ve asked the PE firms for comment.
Cinven has reached an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Amara NZero, a B2B distributor of products and services used in the energy transition market, from ProA Capital.
Amara NZero is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. The company offers a portfolio of products and services across renewables (solar, wind and hydro), electrification, and energy transition services.
Amara’s revenue has grown organically by around 65 percent per annum since 2020.
“Cinven’s business services team has been focusing on exploring investment opportunities building on ESG and sustainability themes, including decarbonisation, and identified the distribution of energy transition products and services as an attractive sub-sector in which to invest,” said Rory Neeson, partner and head of Cinven’s business services sector team.
The transaction builds on Cinven’s investments in Barentz, Netceed (formerly ETC Group) and its subsequent acquisition of Amadys, and Ahlsell.
Moving to the industrials sector now. OCU Group, a portfolio company of Triton Partners, will acquire the Northavon Group of companies, including Northavon Group, Northavon Holdings, Northavon Water Services, Hydrovein, and Multivein, along with their respective subsidiaries.
Northavon is a mechanical, electrical, and civil engineering contractor that operates in the South of England and South Wales. The company is based in Radstock, England.
OCU’s acquisition of Northavon will support its growth across the water and wastewater sector and will give OCU a regional presence across the South West of England, according to a release.
Northavon is OCU’s sixth acquisition in over 12 months, following the acquisition of Modus, InICT, Opals, Andrews Associates, and FKS.
My interest in one of our deep dives this week could be rooted in the fact I’ve watched way too many aviation related documentaries lately. Craig McGlashan caught up with Craig Brooks, senior managing director at Cerberus Capital Management, about the firm’s exit from Worldwide Flight Services (WFS).
New York-headquartered Cerberus, agreed to buy WFS, an air cargo logistics operator, from fellow private equity firm Platinum Equity in June 2018, about a year and a half before global air travel shut down in the face of the covid pandemic.
“Covid had an unprecedented impact on the aviation industry,” Brooks told Craig. “WFS’s business was less impacted because most of its revenues are from air cargo logistics. Also, during covid, WFS pivoted to serving more freighters, which were not subject to the passenger flight restrictions and growth segments of cargo, including e-commerce and pharmaceuticals carried by air. Covid was an opportunity to accelerate our strategy in these growth areas.”
You can read the whole interview with Brooks here.
Ambienta’s platform company Wateralia acquired Linea Ricambi and Bergomi Trading, combined under the name Caprari Trading, a distributor of water pumps and spare parts.
Caprari Trading is Ambienta’s third acquisition as part of its buy-and-build platform strategy in the water pumps sector.
“This combination will further enable us in our expansion and consolidation efforts in the sector, while also marking the first step for Wateralia to directly enter the distribution channel via M&A,” said Mauro Roversi, founding partner and private equity CIO at Ambienta.
Ambienta first acquired Caprari in February 2021 and completed the acquisition of Calpeda in July 2022. The firm then rebranded the combined group as Wateralia.
The combined Wateralia group now has over €240 million in sales and over €40 million in EBITDA.
To close this week’s industrials coverage, we had an exit by Aurelius Equity Opportunities. Aurelius will sell Distrelec Group, a European B2B distributor of electronic and technical components, to RS Group.
The transaction is valued at an enterprise value of €365 million resulting in an equity value of around €200 million after considering all deductible items, minority positions, variable compensation and transaction costs.
Aurelius Equity acquired Distrelec as a carve-out from Dätwyler Group in March 2020.
“Combining the digital teams and competences of RS Group and Distrelec represents a big opportunity to accelerate the power of digital business innovation,” said Stephan Rahmede, VP of Aurelius.