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

Duke Energy assumes full ownership of California-based REC Solar

Duke EnergyDuke Energy, one of the largest energy companies in the U.S., announced today it has acquired full ownership of California-based REC Solar, a provider of renewable energy solutions for commercial customers throughout the country. Details of the deal were not disclosed. Duke Energy first acquired a majority interest in REC Solar in February of 2015.

REC Solar is a nationwide provider of complete commercial, public sector and utility-scale solar solutions, founded in 1997. The company offers all design, engineering, financing and maintenance services in house, allowing for a simple customer experience.

“REC Solar complements our strengths in forming strategic partnerships with customers of all sizes,” said Chris Fallon, vice president Duke Energy Renewables and Commercial Portfolio. “Energy solutions specifically tailored to the commercial consumer will expand renewable energy opportunities for enterprise, municipal, educational and business customers, large and small.”

USA, Charlotte, NC, San Luis Obispo, CA

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GDF SUEZ acquires Ecova for $335M

gdf suezFrench energy group, GDF SUEZ is acquiring Ecova for $335 million. Ecova, an indirect subsidiary of Avista Corp, helps its clients in North America reduce energy cost and resource consumption. Completion is expected by July 1, 2014.

GDF said that the acquisition is part of a strategy of developing its Cofely brand in energy services.

ecovaThe company serves more than 700,000 clients sites and employs more than 1,450 individuals based in 18 offices across North America. Ecova manages $20 billion of utility expenses (energy representing the majority) and generated $180 million of revenues in 2013.

Commenting on the acquisition, Jérôme Tolot, GDF SUEZ Executive Vice President in charge of Energy Services, said: “This acquisition is a major step for the Group in energy efficiency. It will reinforce our expertise in energy data management and combined with our multi-technical know-how in energy efficiency. We will be able to offer innovative and concrete services to assist our clients with the transition to a low carbon economy. In this context, we are pleased to welcome Ecova, its employees and its customers to the GDF SUEZ family of businesses.”

USA, Spokane, WA & France, Paris

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Bglobal sells Utilisoft Australia to Hansen Corporation

bglobalSmart energy solutions and services business Bglobal plc has sold its Australian subsidiary, Utilisoft Pty Ltd (“Utilisoft Australia”), to Hansen Corporation Pty Ltd for a cash consideration of AUD$3.5 million (£2.36 million). Utilisoft Australia provides data management, software and process solutions to customers in the Australian energy market.  Hansen is an independent provider of billing, customer care and IT solutions to the telecommunications, electricity, gas and water industries.

In the year ending 31 March 2012, Utilisoft Australia achieved revenue of £2.38 million, operating profit of £0.36 million and profit before taxation of £0.39 million.  The net assets of Utilisoft Australia at 31 March 2012 were £0.40 million.

The sale of Utilisoft Australia will allow the Board to focus on its remaining UK operating businesses and continue to develop its “meter to cash” smart meter services platform.  During 2012, investment has been made in establishing Bsmart Energy Solutions, a company that is focused on delivering end to end energy services to the SME market and Nutech Training Limited, a company that provides dual fuel smart meter installation training. Both of these subsidiaries are now generating revenues for the Group. The cash proceeds of the sale will be used to invest in the further development of products and services, especially in the further development and testing of a PAYG integrated software solution for which the Group has received strong interest.

The Group now has a strengthened balance sheet, cash in the bank of approximately £3.4 million and the Board has confidence that further progress will be made during the current calendar year to capitalise on the opportunities that the Group is currently pursuing.

Tim Jackson-Smith, CEO, commented: “The sale of our Australian subsidiary strengthens the Group’s balance sheet and provides us with the resources to accelerate the development and field testing of our PAYG solution for which we have seen strong interest from existing energy suppliers and social and commercial landlords. I would like to thank all of the team at Utilisoft Pty for their commitment and hard work and look forward to seeing the business develop under its new owner.”

UK, Darwen, Lancashire & Australia, Bathurst NSW

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A Fusion Deal : Energy specialist Utilyx sold to MITIE Group

Fusion Corporate Partners are pleased to announce our first deal of 2012. The sale of leading energy and carbon management specialist Utilyx Holdings Limited to MITIE Group PLC, the strategic outsourcing and energy services company.

Utilyx provides a number of services relating to its clients’ energy demands including strategic planning, procurement and risk management, all of which are designed to manage the business impact of energy consumption and rising energy costs.

The acquisition of Utilyx will complement and enhance MITIE’s existing CarbonCare energy services capabilities. The energy services market is significant for MITIE, with 35% of the Group’s revenues derived in this area. MITIE is ranked as the second largest energy services company in the UK, providing a full range of integrated services that help its clients manage their energy use and carbon footprint. MITIE’s energy services proposition supports all the key energy issues facing businesses and public sector organisations across the UK. These include business continuity through security of energy supply, value through cost reduction, reduction of carbon emissions and renewable energy.

As a leading consultant on corporate carbon and energy strategy, Utilyx counts a range of major UK energy users among its clients, from the industrial, commercial and public sectors. Utilyx has excellent high-level working relationships with numerous blue-chip companies including Scottish Water, Iceland and McDonald’s. It has excellent strategic relationships across the fast-growing energy services market and also provides specialist services to generators and developers of renewable energy projects.

Established in 2000, Utilyx purchases a significant proportion of the UK corporate energy market on behalf of its clients. The business has a deserved reputation for excellence and innovation, having introduced a number of new products and concepts to the market, including flexible risk managed electricity purchasing, open-book agreements and end-user Power Purchase Agreements.

Utilyx has annualised revenues of over £7m and is well placed to support MITIE’s progress in the growing energy services market in the UK. The total consideration for the acquisition will be up to £16.2m. Initial consideration of £15m was paid in cash on completion and the balance (capped at a maximum additional payment of £1.2m) will be paid in cash, dependent on future business performance. The proforma EBITDA of Utilyx is £1.7m and it is expected the acquisition will be earnings neutral in the first year of ownership.

Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, Chief Executive, MITIE Group PLC, commenting on the transaction, said: “We are delighted to have acquired Utilyx. There is no doubt that the need for all organisations to use fewer natural resources is changing our marketplace. Energy management is integral to what we do and this acquisition forms part of our considerable investment to further develop MITIE’s energy services capability.

Chris Bowden, Chief Executive Officer of Utilyx added: “We are excited by the opportunity this presents for us and our clients. The energy sector is fast-moving and by bringing together our expertise and experience, we will be in an even stronger position to help our clients meet the challenges and opportunities that the new low-carbon economy .

Paul Kelly, Director at Fusion, said “We were delighted to work with Chris and his team at Utilyx. They have built a great business and the fit with MITIE is excellent. The energy services sector has become an important part of the Fusion business. This our sixth energy services deal. Besides private equity interest, we are seeing an increase in acquisition interest from large energy management, FM, environmental services and building services companies. We expect to continue to be active in the sector for some time to come.”

Previous Fusion energy services deals:

UK, London & Bristol

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Other Fusion Deals:

Media and Information

Events, Broadcast and Other deals