Renew Holdings plc acquires Forefront Group Limited

Pipes going across a green field Print news article

05/08/2014

Walker Morris Advises Renew on second acquisition in three months.

The Corporate Group at Walker Morris has advised AIM-listed Renew Holdings plc on its second acquisition in just over three months.

Aberford based Renew has announced that it has agreed to acquire Forefront Group Limited, from Harwood Capital and the company’s founder and Chief Executive, Bradley Beard, for a cash consideration of £14.8m.

Mr Beard has entered into a new 12 month service contract, which cannot be terminated by either party within the first two years and the whole Forefront management team will remain with the business. Mr Beard will report to Renew’s Chief Executive, Brian May. The acquisition will be earnings enhancing to Renew.

Forefront is an engineering services business focused in the gas infrastructure market and operates in the South East of England with its head office in Leigh-on-Sea. The business focuses on the replacement of gas mains and other critical services for National Grid and Southern Gas Networks in London and the South East. Forefront provides its services through framework agreements and employs approximately 350 skilled personnel. The gas infrastructure market is highly regulated and Forefront’s revenues are derived from the 30 year gas mains replacement programme which involves the replacement of iron gas mains pipes with polyurethane mains. Forefront specialises in both low and medium pressure outlets up to 48” diameter. The business also deals with emergency gas leaks and has a specialised under pressure drilling capability. Forefront also provides a complete reinstatement service and operates its own material recycling facility.

The acquisition has been funded from the Group’s cash resources and a four year term loan of £12m provided by HSBC Bank plc. Neil Abbott led the team from HSBC.

Renew was advised by Sean Wyndham–Quin from SPARK Advisory Partners and Debbie Jackson from Walker Morris.

Forefront was advised by Paul Hardy from Hardy Transaction Management and Nick McCarthy & John Turnbull from Bircham Dyson Bell.

Roy Harrison OBE, Chairman of Renew, commented:

“The acquisition of Forefront takes the Group into a new sector within the Energy market and is in line with our strategy of broadening our range of Engineering Services supporting critical UK infrastructure. As part of the Renew Group, Forefront, which has a leading industry reputation, will continue to develop its strong, independent brand. The gas mains network replacement programme provides Forefront with long term visibility and excellent growth opportunities.”

Debbie Jackson, from Walker Morris commented:
“The acquisition is the second in three months we have advised Renew on.  Not only demonstrating Renew’s clear growth strategy but also reaffirming the noticeable uptake in M&A deal activity that we, as a Team, have noticed across the deals market in the last 12 months or so.  From our experience companies and investors are continuing to capitalise on the confidence being felt in the economy and take advantage of opportunities to further their growth plans.”

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