Sovereign Capital Partners backs MBO of Utility Bidders

utility bidderPrivate Equity Buy & Build specialist Sovereign Capital Partners has backed the management buy-out of Utility Bidder, an energy broker, offering energy procurement services to UK, SME customers.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2009, and headquartered in Corby, Utility Bidder employs around 100 staff and has a sales office in Manchester. The company currently brokers energy and other utilities contracts to over 14,500 SME clients across a number of industry sectors in the UK.

sovereignUtility Bidder has performed strongly growing sales by over 40% in the current year. The team is led by an CEO, Chris Shaw; Sovereign has augmented the management team with the appointment of Mark Wood, formerly CEO of Axa UK, as non-executive Chairman. Founders James Longley and Sally Martin remain with the business, James as Utility Bidder’s MD.

Jeremy Morgan, Partner at Sovereign, said, “We are very pleased to be supporting this business and strong management team in what is a burgeoning market. Utility Bidder has already achieved tremendous success and enjoys established relationships with both its SME customer base and its energy suppliers.  We look forward to working with Chris and the team to help take this top ranked energy broker to the next stage of growth.”

UK, London & Corby, Northamptonshire

Inspired to acquire energy procurement business Inprova Finance Limited for £19.5M

inspired-logo3Inspired, an energy procurement consultancy, has conditionally agreed to acquire Inprova Finance Limited (IFL) for £19.5 million in cash from Inprova Group Limited .

Inspired proposes to raise up to £19 million by way of a conditional placing of 115,151,516 new Ordinary Shares at 16.5 pence per Ordinary Share to finance the balance of the Consideration and associated advisory fees relating to the Acquisition.

IFL provides energy procurement and consultancy services to its help it customers buy energy efficiently and monitor and reduce their carbon footprint. The company has access to 19,000 meter points through over 1,000 customers. It operates in four main sectors – data centres, social housing, education and construction.

In the year ended 30 June 2018, IFL had revenues of £7.8 million and EBITDA of £2.9 million; at 30 June 2018, IFL’s order book stood at c.£11.6 million

Commenting on the proposed acquisition, Mark Dickinson, Chief Executive Officer of Inspired, said: “We are delighted to have agreed the acquisition of IFL and its group of energy businesses. This acquisition provides an opportunity to drive further growth from Inspired’s established platform and deliver value creation, both strategically and operationally, in addition to strengthening the Group’s position as a leading TPI in the UK and Ireland. We look forward to working with the team as we continue to accelerate our next phase of growth.”

In April 2015, Fusion completed the sale of two business to Inprova Group in two days: Two Fusion Deals in Two Days: The sale of energyTEAM and ENER-G Procurement – full story

UK, Kirkham, Lancashire & Warrington, Cheshire

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Inspired Energy acquires Professional Cost Management Group

inspired-logo3Inspired Energy, an energy procurement consultant to UK and Irish businesses, has acquired Professional Cost Management Group Limited (“PCMG”), a national cost recovery specialist, for up to £700,000Inspired Energy is making an initial cash payment of £150,000, with a potential further £550,000 subject to the achievement of targets based on future EBITDA performance. 

For the financial year ended 31 December 2017, PCMG had revenues of £2.84 million, EBITDA of £(0.17) million, and a net loss of £(0.19) million. Net assets as at 31 December 2017 stood at £0.7 million.

PCMG provides a forensic auditing service to identify and recover overpayments of utilities and telecoms bills on behalf of its clients and provides optimisation analysis to enable customers to improve their tariff and billing structure. The company was founded in 1993 and was acquired by Alma Consulting Group SAS (a subsidiary of the French Ayming Group) in March 2008.

The Managing Director of PCMG will remain with the enlarged Group after completion and Inspired Energy intends to incentivise the Managing Director and other key employees of PCMG by granting share options in the Group following completion. PCMG is based in Blackpool. The business will be relocated to Inspired Energy’s Kirkham head office on expiry of the current lease that runs to November 2018.

Commenting on the acquisition, Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired said: “We are delighted to conclude the acquisition of PCMG, which is a highly complementary addition to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The PCMG team and brand are well respected within the sector.”

UK, Kirkham, Lancashire and Blackpool, Lancashire

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LDC backs Love Energy

LDCPrivate equity investor LDC has invested more than £25m in Love Energy Savings, an energy price comparison specialist, in a secondary buyout of the business.  The deal also marks a partial exit for NVM Private Equity, which first backed the business in September 2015.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Bolton, Love Energy specialises in the comparison of business energy prices. It connects small and medium-sized businesses with the UK energy supplier that offers the most appropriate gas and electricity tariff, before helping its customers to switch provider.

Under the leadership of CEO and co-founder Phil Foster, Love Energy has grown rapidly. For the financial year ending 31 December 2017 it recorded revenues of £17.4m (2016: £13.2m) and today supports more than 40,000 customers nationwide.

LDC’s investment will enable Foster and his team to accelerate their organic growth strategy. This will include the expansion of Love Energy Solutions, its corporate services division which supports major energy users across the industrial and commercial sector, further investment in its proprietary technology platforms and continued diversification into the water telecoms and insurance markets.

The transaction was led by Richard Ibbett and Jonathan Bell at LDC in Manchester, with support from Dan Gluckman at LDC in London. Jonathan and Richard will both join the board as non-executive directors.

As part of the deal, Steve Weller will also join the board as non-executive chairman. Weller has more than 10 years’ experience driving growth at technology-led businesses and was CEO of the energy switching service uSwitch until July 2018, where he worked closely with LDC during its support of the business between 2013 and 2015.

Richard Ibbett, investment director at LDC in Manchester, said: “Love Energy Savings is a fantastic business with an entrepreneurial, ambitious management team at the helm. Under Phil’s stewardship, it has continued to invest in its offering and diversify to create scale, yet the quality of service it provides to customers, suppliers and intermediaries has never wavered. In a market that is crying out for transparency this has set the business apart and with a commitment to help save businesses money there is even further opportunity for growth. We’re looking forward to partnering with Phil and his team on the next phase of their journey.”

UK, Manchester & Bolton

Inspired Energy acquire Squareone Enterprises

inspired-logo3Inspired Energy has acquired Squareone Enterprises Limited in a deal worth up to in a £1.375 million. Squareone is a provider of energy procurement, energy management and water procurement services with a strong presence in the education and manufacturing sectors.

Inspired are paying £0.75 million in cash, plus an earn out of up to £0.625 million based on revenue targets for the 12 month periods ending 31 March 2019 and 2020.

In financial year ending March 2018, Squareone had revenues of £0.5 million, EBITDA of £0.25 million, and generated operating cash of £0.23 million. Net assets as at 31 March 2018 stood at £0.1 million.

Commenting on the acquisitions, Mark Dickinson, CEO of Inspired Energy said: “We are delighted to conclude the acquisition of Squareone, which is a highly complementary addition to Inspired’s core Corporate Division. The Squareone team are well respected within the sector, and were deservedly recognised as such at the 2018 Energy Live Consultancy Awards. The Acquisition further enhances our customer base and strengthens our sector specialisms.”

The business is based in Boldon, Tyne and Wear, close to the head office of Churchcom Limited, a company acquired by Inspired in April 2017. Michael Harkus, co-founder and Managing Director of Squareone, will remain with the Group after completion.

UK, Kirham, Lancashire & Boldon, Tyne and Wear

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GoCompare.com acquires energy switching specialist Energylinx for £10M

go-compare-logo-newGoCompare.com Group plc has acquired Energylinx for £10m in cash.

Energylinx is an energy comparison and switching specialist and has commercial relationships 69 domestic energy and 40 business energy suppliers. Customers include Which? and Citizens Advice Bureau. The company operates a white-label proposition, with around 200 active affiliates.

Matthew Crummack, CEO of GoCompare, said: “We are pleased to announce this acquisition, which marks yet another significant milestone for the Group as we continue to build services that work for both our customers and partners. Energylinx has an excellent reputation in the industry among energy suppliers and those who use its white-label services, and we will leverage our strong brand, tech and product capabilities to expand its reach and impact to help save even more people time and money.

Energylinx is headquartered in Alloa, Scotland and employs a team of 20 staff. Following completion, Ken Geddes, founder and CEO will join the Group.

UK, Wales, Newport & UK, Scotland, Alloa

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LG Energy Group acquires Guild Energy

LG Energy Group logo smlLancashire based LG Energy Group has acquired Guild Energy, an energy procurement business based in Liverpool. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

LGE Managing Director, Asif Rizvi believes “These are exciting times for both the LGE and Guild Energy. The acquisition of Guild Energy further enhances our customer offering as the merger of SME with our current Industrial and Commercial products allows us to provide a more holistic approach to the market. The sharing of people, knowledge and systems across the companies will only strengthen the management and direction of both businesses”.

Karen Trepte remains as Managing Director of Guild Energy while Co-founder Paul Trepte becomes group risk manager within the wider Rigby Organisation, which is controlled by Simon Rigby, chairman of LG Energy Group.

UK, Blackpool & Liverpool