LDC has completed on the sale of its stake in niche engineering solutions business Nuclear Engineering Services (“NES” or “the business”) in a €36million (£30million) transaction with Ansaldo Energia Group, Italy’s largest supplier, installer and service provider for power generation plants and components.
LDC took a significant stake in NES in April 2009 and the transaction provides a good return for LDC delivering in excess of a 2x return on its original investment.
With a trading history in the nuclear sector dating back to the 1950s, NES is headquartered in Wolverhampton and supplies bespoke solutions into nuclear decommissioning, nuclear new build and defence sectors.
The business has provided equipment to all of the UK’s nuclear power stations in both active and decommissioning phases, and is responsible for the design, construction and commissioning of three large and highly complex Silo Emptying Plants for remote material extraction from one of the principle storage buildings at Sellafield.
Since backing the business in 2009, LDC has worked in close partnership with NES’ management team to implement a strategic growth plan. During the investment period, NES has delivered substantial sales and profit growth and completed a strategic investment to install new state-of-the-art CNC machinery at its manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton and built a new strategically located Engineering and Manufacturing Centre in West Cumbria.
During LDC’s investment period, NES’ turnover has more than doubled, with employee numbers significantly increasing. In NES’ recent results for the financial year ended December 2013, turnover increased to over £37million, up from £18million in December 2008, and the business now employs more than 420 people, an increase of some 180 people over the last five years.
The original investment and ultimate exit from NES was led by Chris Hurley, LDC’s Chief Executive, and Alistair Pendleton, Investment Director.
Commenting on the exit, Chris Hurley, Chief Executive, LDC said: “Since our investment in NES, the business has consistently outperformed, delivered solid organic growth and ultimately strengthened its position in the nuclear decommissioning and new build market, thereby driving future revenue and shareholder value.
“This exit highlights how private equity working in partnership with a high quality management team can help to grow and develop a business, and importantly ensure that it is strategically positioned to embark on the next phase of its development with the right buyer.”
NES Chairman Tony Eckford said: “Since LDC’s investment back in 2009, we have achieved and exceeded on our growth objectives each year. Their strategic input to our business has been invaluable, and they have been fully supportive of our expansion and investment plans.
“The deal with Ansaldo Energia Group is a great outcome for NES, providing us with a solid platform from which to progress further by creating an enhanced and significant capability in the nuclear sector.”