Aliter backed Edwin James Holdings acquires Midlands Engineering Services business WT Parker Group
First bolt-on comes within two months of two acquisitions and the close of Aliter’s new £92 million focused on the UK support services sector
Aliter Capital I LP (“Aliter”) backed Edwin James Holdings (“EJH”), a Scottish engineering group, has today announced the bolt-on acquisition of WT Parker Group (“WT Parker”), a mechanical, electrical and process engineering services business, based in Burton on Trent, that has been owned by the Parker family for over 90 years. This will expand EJH’s geographical footprint and takes the combined revenues to around £110m and the employee numbers to just under 1000 staff, supporting the objective of creating a national technical services business. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
This news comes within two months of Aliter, the specialist investor, focused on small to mid-size UK support services businesses, announcing the completion of its first two investments and the close of its new £92 million fund.
Established in 1922, WT Parker is a specialist provider of mechanical, electrical and process engineering services with an established blue-chip customer base. It has deep expertise in providing engineering support to the public and private sectors, particularly in the manufacturing, food and retail industries; as well as a growing facilities support services operation.
The family owners are no longer involved in the day to day running of the business and will exit completely. WT Parker’s CEO Sean Smyth will continue to lead the business with the support of his senior team and Aliter Partners Billy Allan and Greig Brown will join the board. The established WT Parker brand will remain in place.
In making this acquisition, the team at Aliter Capital LLP (“Aliter Capital”) has recognised an opportunity to apply their considerable experience of building successful national businesses. In 1995, Aliter’s Managing Partner Billy Allan led an MBO of E.J. Stiell and was instrumental in making it the UK’s leading independent facilities management business. This is a key element of the model that Aliter applies to building businesses.
Billy Allan, Managing Partner of Aliter, commented: ”The acquisitions of WT Parker and EJH are the first steps in our plan to create a national technical services business and we have identified a number of additional businesses to bring complementary capabilities to this platform as we move forward. This demonstrates how Aliter, provides investment advisory services and hands on operational support based on real life experience in order to help management teams develop their businesses and achieve transformational growth.”
Greig Brown, Partner at Aliter, said: “WT Parker is an excellent business and a great fit for EJH. In addition to sharing a similar product range, it offers a commitment to customer service, engineering excellence, people development and health and safety. These qualities are critical for a successful business in the sector. We looking forward to working with Sean Smyth and his team to build on these strengths, broadening WT Parker’s range of services, its geographical reach and its high-quality customer base.”
Sean Smyth, CEO of WT Parker, commented: “In Aliter we have found the right partner to help us build on what is already a great business so it can achieve its full potential. They have a great track record of building businesses like ours and their knowledge, experience and contacts will be invaluable as we grow. The time was right for the family shareholders to exit the business and Aliter has enabled us to secure an exciting future for the business and its employees."
Aliter acquired EJH and Complete Asset Life Management Group Ltd (“CALM”), a specialist asset management services provider to the utilities sector, in April 2017.