LDC to exit GVA following its merger with Bilfinger

Over the past seven years GVA has been transformed into the UK’s largest independent commercial property adviser

LDC announces it is to exit from GVA, the UK’s largest independent commercial real estate consultant, once its merger with Bilfinger, the €8.6bn-turnover globalengineering, construction and real estate services group, is finalised.

LDC’s initial investment of £40million for a minority stake in GVA in 2007 supported the company’s growth through acquisition.

The merger will result in LDC, which currently holds a 27.5% stake in GVA, exiting the business following a sustained period of investment that has helped GVA realise its ambitious growth plans.

The merger marks a significant milestone for GVA, giving it a strong global position as well as providing the company with an array of opportunities for future growth fuelled by the unique combination of GVA’s well-established UK reputation and Bilfinger’s international reach. Contracts have been exchanged and there was a 99% shareholder vote – the minimum legally required was 76% - in favour of the merger. This deal, which subject to other outstanding legalities, will transform GVA’s drive for faster growth and significantly strengthen its ambitions to compete on the world stage.

Bilfinger, which is based in Mannheim, Germany, has a market capitalisation of €3.2bn and is listed on the Dax Exchange. Having focussed on contracting for much of its 130-year plus history, Bilfinger refocused in 2001 on Industrial, Power, Facilities Management and Real Estate.

Bilfinger’s Real Estate division has operations across Europe and existing clients include RBS, IBM, AXA, Union Investments and IVG. Bilfinger Real Estate boasts strong property, asset management, valuation and consultancy operations, and is committed to growing its transactional capability, with the combined organisation well placed to grow this activity using both Bilfinger and GVA’s existing client base.

GVA’s UK brokerage capability offers huge value to Bilfinger’s clients, captures equity at source and directly influences key portfolio decisions. These programmes will ultimately secure sale and lease instructions and broader consultancy advice, thereby helping to fulfil GVA’s key ambition.

Like GVA, Bilfinger’s real estate business is consultancy based and GVA’s ambitions to rapidly increase its share of global mandates are matched by Bilfinger’s commitment to invest heavily into forming a global real estate consultancy. 

Chris Hurley, CEO at LDC, commented, commented: “It has been immensely rewarding helping GVA on its journey to become one of the UK’s largest commercial property adviser. The firm’s reputation with its clients is outstanding; it has a strong track record of profitable growth and an experienced and very successful management team, supported by the strength in depth of tis partners. Bilfinger is an excellent fit for GVA, will help launch the firm onto the international stage, compete with global property consultancies and boost its future growth.”

Rob Bould, Chief Executive of GVA, commented: “LDC’s backing and investment over the past seven years has been very important in helping GVA expand to a position where it can attract the interest of businesses of the international stature of Bilfinger and we thank LDC for its consistent support.

“This hugely exciting deal marks the most significant and transformational milestone in the history of our company. It also represents a major opportunity for GVA’s future growth and prosperity. The combination launches us onto the global stage, creating a partnership with Bilfinger that immediately competes with the world’s biggest real estate advisers for global mandates. The merger of the established GVA UK platform and reputation, and Bilfinger’s reach and resources, creates a challenger brand that is consultancy based and also allows us to recruit and retain the best staff.

“This deal offers a hugely exciting opportunity for clients and an unprecedented prospect for us to create a truly international dimension to our UK-facing business.”

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.