Management buy-out for APEM
APEM Ltd, the independent environmental consultancy specialising in the aquatic environment and remote sensing, has undergone a management buy-out backed by private equity firm WestBridge Capital.
The deal has seen WestBridge invest £9.8 million in a combination of equity and loan notes, which will support the company’s growth ambitions as it develops complementary service lines to support its clients’ needs.
Following the transaction, business founder Dr Keith Hendry will retire, while Dr Adrian Williams and Dr Stuart Clough, who have been central to the growth of the business over the past decade, will continue to take the company forward.
They will be supported by an experienced executive team who will benefit from the wider share ownership that the transaction has allowed.
Established in 1990, APEM provides environmental consultancy, laboratory services, field surveys and remote sensing capabilities to a range of sectors including water, power, engineering, construction and transport.
Services include water quality and pollution analysis, species and habitat surveys, and aerial surveys, all of which assess the potential impact of developments and operations on the surrounding environment. APEM also provides on-going monitoring and consultancy to minimise environmental damage.
Clients include water companies, government bodies and regulatory authorities, such as the Environment Agency and DEFRA.
Headquartered in Stockport and with a turnover of £10 million, APEM has eight offices across the UK, one in Germany and one soon to open in the USA, and over 100 staff in total.
The transaction was led by Guy Davies and Valerie Kendall, founding partners at WestBridge, who will both join the board, supported by investment managers Edward Minton and James MacLeay.
Valerie Kendall said: “This is exactly the type of authoritative business we like to invest in and, most importantly, the chemistry with the team feels right. We are very much looking forward to working with Adrian, Stuart and their colleagues, who are acknowledged experts in this fast-growing niche sector.
“Although APEM is already successful, we have collectively identified areas of untapped potential to help grow the business further, both organically and through acquisition.”
Guy Davies added: “APEM is a well-respected and well-run business providing a number of essential services that are resilient to market forces and underpinned by government policy and regulation, which is becoming increasingly stringent.
“The UK government is committed to delivering its 25-year environment plan, which includes the delivery of clean and plentiful water, while the UK must comply with EU environmental regulations after Brexit, all of which means that demand for environmental consultancy is set to grow.
“We are also delighted with the work undertaken by the Dow Schofield Watts team, led by Peter Barkley, who supported WestBridge with this transaction. Their strong environmental consulting M&A credentials assisted us greatly.”
Dr Adrian Williams, managing director at APEM, said: "We are delighted to conclude this deal. As well as enabling us to develop a wider suite of specialist services across the UK, it allows us to exploit the huge growth potential presented by the US offshore wind market.
“We already have a strong foothold in the United States, having won four major offshore wildlife photography survey contracts in the last couple of years but there is much more to come. We’re delighted that our methodology for conducting aerial surveys has become adopted both by regulatory bodies and developers alike.
“Our success to-date, across the whole of APEM, has been due in no small part to our team of highly qualified and loyal colleagues and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their efforts.
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