OMERS Private Equity acquires Bionic from ECI Partners

OMERS Private Equity has acquired Bionic, a provider of essential energy, insurance, finance and connectivity services to UK SMEs from ECI Partners and its founders.

OMERS Private Equity has taken a majority stake in the Company, with the management team, led by Paul Galligan, CEO of Bionic, and ECI Partners and the founders investing alongside OMERS. OMERS Private Equity will provide resources and expertise to help drive the Company’s organic growth as well as further accelerate its strategic expansion through M&A.

Bionic made six acquisitions during ECI’s investment. ECI acquired Bionic in 2017 when it was still called Make it Cheaper.

ECI generated a return of 4.8x following their five-year partnership with Bionic. No other financial terms of the transaction were disclosed.

Founded in 2007, Bionic matches SME business owners with energy, insurance, connectivity, telecoms and commercial finance solutions from its platform of specially selected providers, suppliers and products. Leveraging a tech-enabled team and smart technology, the company offers end-to-end service – including comparison, switch management, customer service and renewals – that help business owners save time and money.

Jonathan Mussellwhite, Senior Managing Director and OMERS Head of European Private Equity, said: “As a leading technology-enabled services platform, Bionic’s high-quality digital-hybrid model, one that pairs smart technology with world class human service, is at the forefront of helping UK SMEs source their business essentials: energy, insurance, finance and connectivity. We are excited by the opportunity to bring OMERS track record of international and acquisitive growth to Bionic as we support Paul and the Bionic management team in the continued growth of the business.”

Paul Galligan, CEO of Bionic, said: “We are thrilled to partner with OMERS Private Equity, a deeply-experienced global investor, and to leverage the team’s expertise to further accelerate Bionic’s growth. From our very first meeting with OMERS it was clear there was a strong cultural alignment and passion for the customers we serve. We were well aware of OMERS long term commitment to its portfolio companies, and as an investor that is well-regarded for its steady buy and build approach, we look forward to the team’s support in achieving our goals for continued strategic expansion through M&A.”

James Frankish, Managing Director, OMERS Private Equity Europe, said: “Bionic’s strong track record of acting as a strategic partner to the entrepreneurs active in the UK’s SME sector speaks for itself. As active investors and managers, we have been impressed by the Company’s ability to continually broaden its portfolio of services, as well as its commitment to further enhancing its already-robust customer service standards. We are eager to get to work with this high-growth business and to leverage OMERS evergreen capital and experience with strategic acquisitions to help Bionic achieve its goal of becoming the pre-eminent European market leader serving the needs of SMEs.”

UK, London

A Fusion deal: Powerful Allies sold to Zenergi

Powerful Allies Limited, a leading provider of 100% renewable electricity contracts for schools and businesses, has been sold to Zenergi, the energy and sustainability services provider backed by ECI Partners. The Fusion team was led by Paul Kelly, Director at Fusion. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Powerful Allies was founded nearly 10 years ago by James Robson, who wanted to “make things better” and be a truly trusted partner for clients needing energy supply support.

Powerful Allies currently supports a number of customers in different sectors, including over 130 leading independent schools and 170 single and multi-site Academies across the UK, providing services including energy cost and carbon emission reduction strategies, energy consumption monitoring and reporting, and LED and Solar PV solutions.

James Robson, founder of Powerful Allies, said, “I founded Powerful Allies ten years ago to give customers more transparency, clarity and honesty around their energy contracts. I am delighted that as part of Zenergi we will be able to reach more customers and support the movement towards a greener future. I look forward to working with Graham and the Zenergi team to deliver on that ambition”.

Paul Kelly, Director at Fusion Corporate Partners said: “It has been a pleasure working with James. He has a great team at Powerful Allies and has achieved exceptional success, and with their overlapping customer base, the fit with Zenergi is excellent. I wish them every success.

The acquisition is the second acquisition undertaken following ECI’s investment in Zenergi in February 2022. In March the business acquired DB Group, enabling Zenergi to grow its regional presence and support customers in Scotland.

Graham Cooke, CEO of Zenergi, said, “As we all move to a greener future, Powerful Allies is a natural fit for the Zenergi offering – the firm’s ethos, focus on renewables and clear strength in customer service match our core values as an organisation. The firm’s own Open Competition Charter is a standout example of how they really care for and empower their clients. We are all looking forward to welcoming James and the team and seeing what we can achieve together”.

Powerful Allies will continue to trade under its own brand as part of the Zenergi group for the immediate future.

UK, Southampton & UK, Bishops Cannings, Devizes

ECI Partners acquire Zenergi from August Equity

Mid-market private equity firm ECI Partners has acquired Zenergi, an energy procurement and sustainability services provider, from August Equity. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Zenergi supports organisations across the UK with their energy renewals, legislation and carbon reporting, identifying ways they can reduce their energy use, and leading energy efficiency and renewable projects. Founded in 2003, the company focuses on the education, healthcare and social housing sectors. August Equity invested in Zenergi in 2017, and since 2018 the company has completed five acquisitions.

Richard Chapman, Partner at ECI, said, “Zenergi does a fantastic job supporting institutions with increasingly complex energy needs, and we look forward to working with Graham (Cooke) and the management team to deliver both organic growth and further M&A in this space. In the current energy market climate and wider environmental considerations, we expect customers to increasingly look to market experts such as Zenergi to help them find solutions. We’re delighted to partner with the team for the next stage of their journey.”

According to their website, ECI’s investment represents an exit for August Equity generating a return of 5.3x.

Mike Biddulph, Partner at August Equity said: “It has been an absolute privilege to partner with Graham Cooke and the management team over the last four years. Zenergi is another great example of us building scale with service driven businesses in secular growth markets and working with exceptional entrepreneurs, to create quality businesses with high strategic value.”

UK, London

IBM acquires environmental performance management company Envizi

IBM has acquired Envizi, a data and analytics software provider for environmental performance management. The acquisition closed on January 11, 2022. Financial details were not disclosed.

Companies are under mounting pressure from regulators, investors, and consumers to progress toward more sustainable and socially responsible business operations – and to demonstrate these measures in a robust and verifiable way. In fact, corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability risks tied as the third highest concerns for organizations, as ranked by large corporations in a 2021 Forrester report. However, the various types of data companies need to understand and report on sustainability initiatives remains highly fragmented and difficult for all relevant parties to access.

Envizi’s software automates the collection and consolidation of more than 500 data types and supports major sustainability reporting frameworks. Its user-friendly and easily customised dashboards enable companies to analyse, manage and report on environmental goals, identify efficiency opportunities and assess sustainability risk. Envizi’s solutions help streamline the management of these tasks as part of broader Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting initiatives, while also providing users with valuable sustainability insights to inform business strategy.

Kareem Yusuf, PhD, General Manager, IBM AI Applications, said, “To drive real progress toward sustainability, companies need the ability to transform data into predictive insights that help them make more intelligent, actionable decisions every day. Envizi’s software provides companies with a single source of truth for analyzing and understanding emissions data across the full landscape of their business operations and dramatically accelerates IBM’s growing arsenal of AI technologies for helping businesses create more sustainable operations and supply chains.”

Available as a SaaS solution and running in multi-cloud environments, Envizi serves leading brands such as Microsoft, Qantas, CBRE, Uber, abrdn and Celestica, and its software can be applied to activities across a variety of industries.

USA, Armonk, NY & Australia, Eveleigh NSW

Schneider Electric acquires renewable energy platform Zeigo

Schneider Electric has acquired start-up climate-tech platform Zeigo. The acquisition will complement Schneider Electric’s portfolio of clean energy services and solutions and advance the company’s digital energy transformation ambitions. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steve Wilhite, SVP for Schneider Electric’s Sustainable Business Division, said, “As the world’s largest advisor to corporations on renewable energy procurement, we know that speed and complexity are two of the barriers that keep some corporations out of the PPA market. By adding the Zeigo technology and team to our existing portfolio of services and solutions, we will be able to provide even greater value to our clients worldwide.”

Organisations face increasing pressure to decarbonise as climate risks and global ambitions for an equitable energy transition both accelerate. For the past 10 years, one of the most common and effective means for companies to begin to decarbonise has been utility-scale renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs). To date, organisations have voluntarily purchased more than 77 gigawatts of wind, solar, and geothermal power via PPA.

The demand for PPAs is expected to grow as net-zero ambitions accelerate globally. More than 2,000 companies have already joined the Science-based Targets Initiative with the intention of mapping their decarbonisation aspirations to a 1.5 degree Celsius global warming threshold. A further 300+ corporations have joined the Climate Group’s RE100, committing to achieve 100% renewable energy in their operations. Taken in total, these commitments have led Bloomberg New Energy Finance to predict a shortfall in corporate renewable energy of 269 terawatt-hours by 2030.

Renewable energy procurement is time-consuming and complicated, requiring significant expert evaluation of projects and risks alongside the satisfaction of stakeholders up to and including corporate boards. By combining Zeigo’s AI capabilities with its existing advisory services, Schneider Electric will deploy enhanced collaborative intelligence in the energy and environmental commodity procurement process.

France, Rueil-Malmaison & USA, Andover, MA & UK, London

IMServ to be sold by Schneider Electric to Blue Water Energy

IMServ Europe Limited has announced to customers that their owners, Schneider Electric, have signed an agreement with Blue Water Energy LLP for the sale of IMServ.

Bluewater is a London-based middle-market private equity firm, specialising in the energy sector.

IMServ is a provider of metering and data services to the energy market and has around 525 employees, primarily in the UK.

The date of the closing, should be effective in Q3 2021.

More details to follow.

UK, London & UK, Milton Keynes & France, Rueil-Malmaison

eEnergy Group plc to acquire Beond Group

eEnergy Group plc is to acquire Beond Group Limited, a UK renewable energy consulting and procurement business.

Beond, based in West London, helps its clients to transition to the lowest cost zero carbon energy available in the market. Working with small businesses to large corporates and public sector organisations it runs competitive reverse auctions through its proprietary technology. This ensures that its clients have access to the lowest prices across the market while achieving their net zero energy ambitions. It offers a Risk Managed service for clients that wish to have access to the energy wholesale markets and implements hedging strategies to help protect against rising market prices.

The total consideration for the Acquisition (which includes £0.7 million of surplus cash in the business) comprises approximately £2.4 million in cash and the issue of 64,948,456 consideration shares.

For the year to 31 December 2019, Beond’s revenue grew 10.5% to £3.3 million, with EBITDA of approximately £0.5 million at a margin of 14.1%;

eEnergy Group expects Beond to generate:

  • revenue growth at an annual average rate of 22% from the year to 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2022
  • base case EBITDA for the year to 31 December 2021 of approximately £0.8 million;
  • EBITDA margin improvement from 14% for the year to 31 December 2019 to 28% for the year to 31 December 2022;

The cash component will be funded through a placing of a minimum of £3.0 million to new and existing institutional and other investors, at a Placing Price of 10.0 pence per placing share.

CEO of Beond, Derek Myers, is expected to join the Board of eEnergy on completion of the acquisition.

An integration team, led by new (non-Board) Chief Operating Officer, Robert Van Leeuwen, is expected to work closely with the Beond management team and oversee initiatives to accelerate growth.

Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, commented: 

“The acquisition of Beond is the next step in our journey to delivering a sustainable future for our clients. Beond’s, a climate action business, leverages award-winning technology to secure the best zero carbon energy supply for their customers. With a focus on energy management, their technology will add significant value to eEnergy’s existing client base by helping to make ‘Net Zero’ a reality. Beond’s platform is one of a very small number of specialised reverse auction technologies available to customers, securing the best priced zero carbon energy through a highly competitive auction process. 

eEnergy, listed on AIM, is the parent company of eLight and RSL, which help businesses and schools switch to energy-efficient LED.

UK, London

Inspired Energy acquires an initial 40 per cent of Ignite Energy

inspired-logo4Inspired Energy plc has acquired an initial 40 per cent share of Ignite Energy Limited

Inspired are paying an initial £5.0 million to acquire the 40 per cent on a debt free, cash free, normalised working capital basis. A further consideration of up to £3.0 million may become payable in cash, subject to the achievement of financial performance targets for the year ending 31 December 2019. The Initial Consideration has been financed from the Inspired’d existing resources, with funding provided by a drawdown of the Group’s £12.5 million acquisition facility with Santander.

Inspired has an option, until 31 July 2021, to acquire the remaining 60 per cent off Ignite Energy. Details of the option agreement are below. Inspired’s Mark Dickinson (CEO) and Paul Connor (FD) will join the board of Ignite, which will consist of five people.

Ignite provides energy management solutions to large multi-site commercial energy users. Services include energy procurement, energy efficiency and optimisation services The business began trading in 2009 and is led by David and Ben Higgins. Headquarted in Wantage, Oxfordshire, Ignite employs 51 people based across 3 locations in the UK.

For the financial year ended 31 December 2018, Ignite had revenues of £12.41 million, profit before tax of £3.08 million and generated operating cash of £1.50 million. Net assets as at 31 December 2018 stood at £4.08 million.

Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired said: “We are delighted to conclude our strategic investment in Ignite, a business which is highly complementary to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The Strategic Investment significantly broadens and accelerates our optimisation service offering. Ignite has proven itself, over many years, to be capable of achieving material improvements to the energy efficiency of its clients. Inspired currently has over 500 clients within the estate and energy intensive segments who meet the Ignite customer profile, and could benefit from the services that Ignite provides.”

OPTION AGREEMENT  

·      Under the Option Agreement, from completion until 31 July 2021, Inspired has an exclusive one-way call option to acquire the outstanding balance of 60 per cent of the issued share capital of Ignite (“Remaining Ignite Shares”).

·      Under the terms of the Option Agreement, Inspired will pay consideration for the Remaining Ignite Shares which equates to an enterprise value of 6.0x earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (“EBITDA”) (“Option Consideration”). 

·      The Option Consideration shall be based off a minimum EBITDA of £3.0 million, and at the time of exercising the Option Agreement, an amount of £10.8 million will become payable by Inspired.

·      Should the EBITDA be greater than £3.0 million in either of the scenarios shown below, then additional consideration will become payable by Inspired, being the higher of:

–  6.0x Ignite’s EBITDA for the last 12 months ending on the date of the exercise of the option under the Option Agreement, or;

–  6.0x Ignite’s EBITDA for the financial year ending the year in which the option is exercised under the Option Agreement;

–  Less the £10.8 million already paid on exercise of the option, subject to a maximum EBITDA of £7.0 million.

·      Any  additional consideration due will be payable within 90 days following the end of the financial year in which the option agreement is exercised, Ignite’s financial year end is 31 December.

UK, Kirkham, Lancashire & Wantage, Oxfordshire

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The Monarch Partnership acquires EIC and T-Mac Technologies

MonarchUtilities management company The Monarch Partnership has acquired Energy Intelligence Centre (EIC) and T-Mac Technologies. EIC and T-Mac Technologies made up the corporate division of Utilitywise Plc, the energy and utilities brokerage business that went into liquidation in February 2019. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Monarch Partnership is a wholly owned subsidiary of Majestic Securities Limited, which also owns ESS Utility Consultants and Smith Bellerby. All 130 staff from EIC and T-Mac Technologies will join The Monarch Partnership. Following the acquisition, the combined group will have 250 employees and combined revenues of £20 million. In the year to March 2018, Monarch Partnership had profits after tax of £2.45 million. The Majestic Securities group had profit after tax of £2.65 million on a turnover of £6.47 million.

Utilitywise acquired EIC from Broadfern Partners in 2013. After the acquisition Utilitywise rebranded the company as Energy Intelligence Centre. It was previously called Energy Information Centre.

Fusion Corporate Partners had sold EIC to Broadfern Partners in September 2007

Acting for Euromoney Institutional Investor, Fusion Corporate Partners sold Energy Information Centre to Broadfern Partners in September 2007 for £4.7 million. EIC had been bought by Euromoney in October 2006 as part of its £22 million acquisition of metal market news service Metal Bulletin.

EIC was founded in 1975 and now supports over 1,000 industrial and commercial businesses and public sector organisations in managing their energy and water requirements. T-Mac Technologies provides energy management and intelligent buildings systems to help clients reduce and monitor their energy consumption. Both businesses will continue to trade under their existing brand identities and operate out of their headquarters in Redditch, supported by offices in Newcastle and Bury St Edmunds.

Peter Dosanjh, Chairman and CEO at The Monarch Partnership, said: “We are building a premier utility consultancy focused on helping our customers to become fully sustainable energy users. Our depth and breadth of expertise is unrivalled, and we are now working with colleagues and clients across the organisation to integrate the businesses and become the UK’s leading intelligent utilities partner. It is great to have Brin (Brin Sheridan, Managing Director of EIC and T-Mac) on board and welcome EIC and T-Mac to the Group.” 

UK, Wallington, Surrey & Redditch, Worcestershire

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Marlowe acquires waste water solutions business Atana for up to £5M

 

Marlowe+PLC+logoMarlowe plc, the support services group, has acquired Atana Limited for up to £5 million.

Founded in 2001, Atana is a provider of wastewater treatment solutions to commercial organisations across the UK. Atana provides recurring services which ensure compliance with wastewater discharge regulations and reduce waste disposal costs. The business is headquartered in Leicestershire and employs around 20 staff.

AtanaFor the year to 31 December 2017, Atana had revenues of £5.1 million, profit before tax of £0.5 million and net assets of £0.4 million. The total enterprise value will comprise an upfront cash consideration of £3 million and a cash earn-out expected to be in the region of £3 million and capped at £5 million for regulatory purposes. The achievement of the £3 million earn-out is dependent upon the business generating EBITDA of £1.4 million in the 12-month period to 31 December 2020.

Alex Dacre, Chief Executive of Marlowe plc, said:

“The acquisition of Atana accelerates Marlowe’s strategy of broadening the capabilities of our Water division across the entire regulated water management cycle. It enables us to provide additional water services to our customers and strengthens our competitive proposition and ability to cross-sell, both within and across our operating divisions.”

UK, London & UK, Coalville, Leicestershire

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