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

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 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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Inspired Energy plc – Results for year ended 31 December 2013

inspiredenergyInspired Energy plc, an energy procurement consultant to UK corporates, has announced its final results for the year ended 31 December 2013.

Financial Highlights

  • Revenue increased 45% to £7.62 million (2012: £5.26 million)
  • EBITDA before exceptional costs and share-based payment costs increased 34% to £3.55 million (2012: £2.64 million)
  • Operating profit for the year was £1.98 million (2012: £1.17 million)
  • Adjusted EPS* increased 40% to 0.67 pence (2012: 0.48 pence)
  • Profit before tax of £1.75 million (2012: £0.89 million)
  • Record period of new sales, continuing into the new year
  • Order book grew 23% to £11.0 million (2012: £8.9 million)
  • The SME division contributed revenue in the year of £1.35 million (2012: £0.17 million)
  • Final dividend proposed of 0.12 pence per share (interim dividend of 0.05 pence per share)

* Excluding amortisation, acquisition cost, share based payments and restructuring cost.

Operational Highlights

 Strong organic growth within the SME sector following launch of EnergiSave, which has continued into 2014

Further diversification of customer base into new sectors

Significant investment in staffing to drive revenue growth with average headcount in year increasing 22% to 66 (31 December 2012: 54)

Additional investment in bespoke core IT platform to optimise sales and client servicing

Successful introduction of new products in the year, including the new product set within the SME division and the Multi-Customer Management Solution in the Corporate division

High client retention levels maintained. Renewals across the Group at 85%. Risk Management division achieved 100% retention

Post period end acquisition of two SME focused businesses, adding an online platform and broadening the client base, complementing the existing EnergiSave business.

Commenting on the results, Janet Thornton, Managing Director, said:  “2013 was a stellar year for Inspired, one which has put the Group in a very strong position to build on this solid growth into 2014. The team grew by 22% and the record results we have delivered are testament to their hard work and commitment to the business. The current year has started well and the Group is ahead of the Board’s expectations, with a strong pipeline for the year ahead. Inspired is in a leading position to continue to take advantage of the strong, structural growth trend we are witnessing in the energy consultancy sector, which will further benefit the Group in the years to come as businesses increasingly look to energy consultancies to help them with their energy procurement negotiations and strategies. We look forward to a successful 2014 and the opportunities of building the Group organically and through further acquisitions within the sector.”

Uk, Kirkham, Lancashire

Enserve sells Inenco Group to Vitruvian Parners, Management and ICG

inencoEnServe Group, the energy and utility outsourcing business owned by private equity house Cinven, has sold its Energy division, Inenco Group, to funds managed by Vitruvian Partners, management and Intermediate Capital Group Plc. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Inenco Group provides businesses with strategic energy management procurement and risk management services. It has over 9,000 clients including corporate, public sector and SME customers. Its services are provided through three specialised brands Inenco, Inenco Direct and NIFES.

Cinven’s most recent portfolio company report on Enserve Group covers the year to March 2012. The Energy division of Enserve vitruvianproduced revenue for that year of £27M (2011: £27.7M) and EBITDA of £9.8M (2011: 8.2 million).

Cinven acquired the parent company EnServe Group (formerly Spice plc) in a public to private transaction in December 2010 for £360 million. The proceeds of the sale will be used to reduce bank debt at the parent company level and invest in the remaining divisions.

Michael Abbott, Chief Executive of Inenco Group, commented: “We’re really excited to be partnering with Vitruvian, who share our vision to consolidate our leading position in the UK and grow internationally with our fantastic client base. Vitruvian also has significant financial resources to support an acquisition programme to accelerate growth.” Abbott went on to say, “Inenco Group’s head office will continue to be based on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, with NIFES offices in Glasgow, Altrincham and London operating alongside Inenco Direct’s growing presence in Liverpool. Over the course of the next three years, we intend to create new employment opportunities to support the growth in demand for our services, which is fuelled by volatile and rising energy prices and a mass of energy efficiency/carbon legislation.”

UK, London and Lancashire, St Annes

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