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Benchmark International has Advised on the Sale of Manor Renewable Energy to a Consortium of Investors

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between Manor Renewable Energy and a consortium of investors led by Moulton Goodies Limited and Castle Mill Equity Partners Limited. The transaction also involved Manor Marine, a wholly owned subsidiary of Manor Renewable Energy.

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Manor Renewable Energy was founded in 2013 and is the leading provider in offshore temporary power and engineering solutions to the wind farm industry. Manor Marine, which began trading in 1991, provides vessel construction and maintenance services.

The deal facilitated the exit of a founder shareholder and provides backing for the team to continue its high-growth plan. Going forward, the investors will support the existing management team with strategic and commercial expertise as the business seeks to broaden its offering by investing in its operations and maintenance division.

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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Circum Limited and EA-RS Fire Engineering Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between engineering and construction firms Circum and EA-RS Fire Engineering.

Circum designs, supplies, installs, commissions and maintains active fire protection systems including wet and dry sprinklers, wet and dry risers, hose reels, and gas and mist suppression systems.

EA-RS Fire Engineering provides a turnkey solution for clients’ fire safety and regulatory requirements. It is one of only five UK fire systems providers with the various accreditations to supply mechanical and electrical packages in one single client order.

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This transaction is of a strategic nature, allowing EA-RS Fire Engineering to expand its current service offering and grow inorganically.

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Benchmark International has Successfully Facilitated the Transaction Between Elastomer Engineering Limited and Dexine Leyland Rubber Technology Limited

Benchmark International is pleased to announce the transaction between bespoke rubber products engineer, Elastomer Engineering, and Lancashire-based manufacturer of niche rubber products for engineering and industrial applications, Dexine Leyland Rubber Technology (DLRT).

Family-owned business Elastomer Engineering has extensive expertise in polymer science and manufacturing technology, including a range of proprietary products sold into the oil & gas and defence sectors.

DLRT is a leading manufacturer of elastomeric products and components for industrial and engineering uses. The company specialises in the design and manufacture of complex products and offers a range of rubber compounds with properties such as oil and fire resistance and vibration damping.

Working in the same sectors as Elastomer Engineering, the acquisition allows for the two companies to sell an extensive product range into these sectors.

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The acquisition also provides DLRT the opportunity to acquire a portfolio of significant intellectual property, along with a wide range of specialist equipment designed for high value precision moulding. With DLRT’s assets, this constitutes greatly enhanced product development and manufacturing capabilities for both businesses.

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Benchmark International Facilitated The Transaction Of Am Engineering, Inc. To Fremont-Wright, LLC

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of AM Engineering, Inc. (“AME”) by Fremont-Wright, LLC (“Fremont-Wright”).

AME is a Florida-based business headquartered in Sarasota. AME specializes in civil engineering and land surveying projects for large and small-scale land development, water distribution systems, wastewater collection facilities, roadways, parking facilities, and site grading. AME offers both engineering and surveying services for residential and commercial clients. The sale to Fremont-Wright creates new growth opportunities for the business.

Fremont-Wright is a holding company based in Memphis, TN, and specializes in aerial and land survey, as well as civil and structural engineering. Its companies – Triton Engineering, I.F. Rooks, Colbert Matz Rosenfelt, and Harmsen – also offer services such as photogrammetry, environment management, volumetric services and utility design. Fremont-Wright serves the institutional, mixed use, commercial and residential industries. This acquisition fits well with Fremont-Wright’s continued nationwide growth strategy.

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Shawn Leins, president and one of the owners of AME stated, “We are excited to join the Fremont- Wright team and look forward to continued growth and success.”

Regarding the deal, Transaction Director Leo VanderSchuur at Benchmark International stated, “It was a pleasure to represent AME in this strategic transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.”

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Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Texas Engineering Solutions, LLC to Atwell, LLC.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Texas Engineering Solutions, LLC to Atwell, LLC.  Benchmark International worked diligently to find a Buyer that was an ideal candidate to ensure the goals of the sellers from a financials and corporate fit perspective.

Texas Engineering Solutions, LLC is a land development consulting firm providing a range of civil engineering, utility and infrastructure design, as well as planning and land development services in Central Texas.

Atwell, LLC is a consulting, engineering and construction services firm that delivers a broad range of technical solutions to clients in the real estate and land development, power and energy, and oil and gas markets.  They provide comprehensive professional services including engineering, planning, surveying, landscape architecture, environmental consulting, program management and construction services to a diverse blend of clients

 

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Benchmark International was able to procure for Texas Engineering Solutions, LLC a buyer that met their financial goals while also being an ideal cultural fit and providing the additional resources that the buyer was searching for.  Benchmark International corresponded with numerous potential investors and the Owners of Texas Engineering Solutions had several in-person meetings until they met with the representatives from Atwell, LLC.  

Per Brian Wenzel, CEO of Atwell, LLC “We believe identifying the right opportunity with the right fit is critical for success in the M&A space.  In working with Benchmark International on our most recent acquisition, we realized they share that same vision.  Not only was the [Benchmark International] team helpful throughout the process, but their approach to this engagement was comprehensive, thoughtful and focuses while placing significant emphasis on the success of the combined firms.  We look forward to working with them on future opportunities.”

Benchmark International’s Senior Associate, J.P. Santos, commented “The Benchmark International team is excited for Texas Engineering Solutions as they join a firm in Atwell, LLC that aligns with their corporate goals.  As Texas Engineering Solutions enters this next chapter, the mutual respect and admiration amongst the two firms leaves little doubt that the combined entities will continue to thrive and grow as a business.”

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Benchmark International successfully facilitated the acquisition of Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc. to CES inc.

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc.Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc. (BWLK) by CES, Inc. BWLK provides land surveying, mapping, civil engineering, and land planning services in Florida.

BWLK has been in the land surveying, planning, and engineering services business since 1987. The company’s proven track record, commitment to high-quality, professional work, combined with its advanced engineering and surveying technology has enabled BWLK to establish a solid reputation and build long-lasting client relationships.

CES, Inc., a Maine-based firm of engineers, environmental scientists, and land surveyors is expanding its footprint to the Southeast. Denis St. Peter, President and CEO of CES, commented, “CES, Inc. has been utilizing M&A as one of our strategies to help achieve our growth goals over the past several years. By working with Sunny Garten, Leo Vanderschuur, and their team at Benchmark International to acquire Bean, Whitaker, Lutz & Kareh, Inc., we were able to identify and perform preliminary evaluations of several companies quickly and accurately within our targeted geographic area. Benchmark represented several prospective sellers that fit our criteria, and the responsiveness and quality of their initial teaser summaries and more detailed confidential information memorandums allowed us to optimize our search efforts to end up with the best company for CES, Inc. Their significant knowledge of the acquisition process, the sophistication of their systems (e.g., online data exchange), and their willingness to communicate deal structures based on their past experiences were all valuable to the success of our acquisition.”  

 

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Scott Whitaker, president and one of BWLK’s owners stated, “On behalf of everyone at BWLK, we are delighted to join the CES team. The more we learned about CES’ approach to its employees and clients, including its Best Places to Work recognition and past project awards, the more we grew excited about our partnership. By joining our professionals with theirs, we will offer new opportunities to our employees and continue our dedication to our clients and provide them the same high-quality services they enjoy.”

“I am honored to join CES as a Shareholder and to help be the link between Maine and Florida,” said Ahmad Kareh, also an owner of BWLK. “CES’ depth of engineering and environmental experts means that we will be able to collaborate with shared expertise to provide our clients with additional capabilities to reach their project’s goals.”

Regarding the deal, Transaction Director Leo VanderSchuur at Benchmark International stated, “It was a pleasure to represent BWLK in this strategic transaction. On behalf of Benchmark International, we wish both companies continued success.” Senior Associate, Sunny Garten, added, “Scott, Ahmad and their team were wonderful to work with. They were engaging and always responsive to diligence requests. We’re excited to see that their legacy will be preserved and enhanced through this transaction with CES.”

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Top 10 Industries for Private Equity Investment Revealed

A study by Private Equity Info has identified the top 10 industries that private equity firms have been acquiring during 2018. Below is a breakdown of the industries along with why they have been so popular with private equity firms.

1. Manufacturing

Manufacturing features on the list, in part, as a result of advancements in manufacturing. With automation, processes are made more efficient in many different sectors such as technology, aerospace, automobile and medical devices, making manufacturing companies an attractive prospect for private equity firms as they can utilise the technology in their portfolio companies and it is a good investment.

Watermill Group is a prime example of a private equity firm acquiring manufacturing companies. It currently has three manufacturing companies in its portfolio and within the past year acquired Andaray (Holdings) Limited and its subsidiary Cooper & Turner.

Commenting on this, Steve Karol, Managing Partner at Watermill Group said, “We are bullish on manufacturing in North America. Advanced manufacturing is creating a lot of new opportunities in many different sectors for many different companies.”

 2. Software

Similar to manufacturing, the software industry is popular with private equity firms as it can be utilised within other sectors for their advancement.

Software can be utilised in all manner of sectors and is proving particularly popular in retail as it can detect changes in customer attitude. While a valuable asset to have, it is incredibly difficult for other sectors to replicate what the software can do, therefore lends itself as an add-on to other companies.

Proof of this is within European M&A. Within the last year, software M&A activity set a new record for the number of transactions conducted and one of the main drivers for this growth was private equity, with statistics from Mergermarket showing that there were $11.2 billion of private equity deals conducted out of the $24.7 billion overall total for 2017.

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 3. Technology

Once again, private equity is investing as technology is a useful asset to be used to improve portfolio companies.

What has been interesting over the past year is how private equity firms, themselves, have started to utilise technology for their own benefit, not just for the benefit of portfolio companies. For example, artificial intelligence systems are now being used to screen investment opportunities. This phenomenon is not expected to slow down either, as a survey by Coller Capital shows three quarters of investors believe their private equity programmes could be improved by the use of external data sources such as third party software and cloud applications to the digital marketplace.

 

 4. Healthcare

There is an interest in healthcare from private equity given the fact that this is a growth sector because of the ageing population and the fact that the system is fragmented and needs to be consolidated. Recent acquisitions in this industry include that of Envision Healthcare by KKR in June 2018.

It’s particularly good news for healthcare companies in the UK, as private equity firms have been increasingly active in this market, believing the sector will fare well throughout Brexit.

 

5. Data

Data, in a similar way to technology, has been popular with private equity firms because of both acquiring the assets for their portfolio companies and because data can be used within the transactions themselves.

The use of data and analytics in private equity is gaining momentum as it can be used to identify issues at a quicker rate and focus the due diligence process, enabling both the buyer and seller to close a deal faster. It is important that a deal can be closed quickly for private equity firms, as record amount of dry powder available means that there is a lot more competition in the market.

 

 6. Oil & Gas

As the oil & gas industry has strengthened in 2018 with a rise in commodity prices, costs and emerging technology the market is forecast to accelerate, with an expected global value of $2,627.4bn by the end of 2022, compared to $1,977.3bn in 2017.

This could make the industry an attractive prospect to private equity buyers although, that being said, oil & gas has always been a popular industry for private equity investment as it is a commodity that is always in demand, it produces a steady cash flow, there are high barriers to entry into the market, and it attracts strong profits.

 

7. Medical

While the medical industry has some crossover with healthcare, there is more of a focus on the area of medical devices, particularly within manufacturing and research. As innovative new drugs and devices are continually coming to market this is attractive for private equity. A recent acquisition in this sphere includes Mérieux Développement and Gimv’s acquisition of Stiplastics Healthcaring.

Feel like it's a good time to sell?

8. Construction/10. Engineering

While construction and engineering appeared in eighth and tenth places respectively, there has been an increased presence of private equity firms in the combined engineering and construction industry. While last year saw an increase in private equity exits, there was also an increase in acquisition activity.

One notable transaction in 2017 was that of Warburg Pincus’ acquisition of Service Logic. This acquisition is a key example of why private equity interest has increased as Service Logic is a HVAC and mechanical services provider, an area which private equity firms are eager to enter because of the recurring revenues available. There has been even more interest in recent years as the aftermarket is growing as a result of a need for it within the construction industry.

 

 9. Transportation & Logistics

Private equity in the transportation & logistics industry has emerged as a large player since the 2008 financial crisis as it worked at consolidating a fragmented market and financing expansion. In 2014, there was a shift to publicly trading companies acquiring transportation & logistics companies, and private equity took advantage of a buyers’ market and sold. By 2015, however, private equity was back to being the main contender as spending slowed down from publicly traded companies due to their stock prices falling, whereas private equity had the necessary resources.

One such company that specialises in transportation & logistics acquisitions is Greenbriar Equity Group, with the majority of its current portfolio dating back to 2015. Some of its recent acquisitions include The Whitcraft Group (April 2017) and LaserShip (March 2018).

 

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Call Benchmark International today if you are interested in an exit or growth strategy or if you are interested in acquiring.

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Benchmark international Facilitates the Acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP

Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the acquisition of Urban Design Group PC to Dunaway Associates LP. Benchmark International worked hard to find a buyer that was a good cultural fit for the business and would allow each of the three principals achieve their personal goals.

Urban Design Group PC is a Texas-based professional firm that provides a full range of civil engineering, urban design, and surveying services to a diverse group of clientele in the Austin market. UDG has been "shaping the urban environment" since 1981. UDG brings 37 years of engineering experience to the Austin, Texas area, and this experience will be beneficial in the years to come through their new partnership.

 

Ready to explore your exit and growth options?

 

A professional services company with over 60 years of delivering results and an expansive footprint in the state of Texas, Dunaway was an obvious choice for a buyer. Dunaway provides services including civil engineering, structural engineering, planning and landscape architecture, environmental and surveying. The acquisition of UDG will provide Dunaway with surveying and planning operations , two services the firm offered in its other offices but were missing in Austin.

Laura Toups of Urban Design Group stated “The Benchmark International Austin team brought invaluable results to this transaction for us. They put our personal and professional objectives at the front of their objectives in driving this deal through to the end. They presented us with a variety of potential buyers to fit our needs. In the end, they were able to provide a buyer that would culturally align with our vision. We would highly recommend the Benchmark International team of experts to anyone planning to successfully exit their business.”

Benchmark International’s Transaction Director, Luis Vinals, commented “Clients like John, June, and Laura, are a true pleasure to work with. Throughout the engagement, they were communicative, responsive, and most importantly, straight forward with their objectives. This allowed the team to have a clear mission and effectively execute a plan to bring a successful result. Having a client that is open to collaborating with our process is crucial to achieving success in the open market and our clients were very cooperative. Ultimately, the deal allowed each individual owner to meet their goals. This was a great result all around!”

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Mergers and Acquisitions in the Architecture and Engineering Industry

Over the last few years the architecture and engineering industry has seen a marked increase in mergers and acquisitions activity. Since reemerging from the depths of the recession, the industry has been ripe with activity; with everything from the expansion of the ever growing reach of firms like DLR, Perkins & Will, and HOK, to the merging of small businesses to facilitate the retirement goals of local industry experts. Considering there is typically a few year lag between economic fluctuations and corresponding changes in M&A activity, as the bull market run is approaching nine years, this type of inorganic growth activity shows no signs of slowing down.

As an industry agnostic mergers and acquisition leader, Benchmark International is in touch with leaders from a variety of industries on a daily basis. We’ve seen significant movement from corporate development teams in a number of industries which are beginning to expand their services to grow not only their customer base, but also to gain additional wallet share of their existing clients. This type of cross pollination has occurred in interior design, surveying, construction, architecture, engineering, and technology. We currently are in the midst of closing a transaction which would allow a specialized electrical engineer which focuses on the commercial and healthcare markets to broaden their end market to include the hospitality sector, and their service offerings to include the upstream design, planning, and engineering components of a building’s IT infrastructure needs.

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Austin, Texas Proves to be an Engineering Hotspot

We’ve all heard it, the best measurement of a city’s growth is the number of cranes and projects going up. We’ve all heard buzzwords about Austin, TX being an “IT” city, but it’s not just Austin that is sprawling with new developments and high-rises. Stop and think about this type of buzzing activity throughout a 70 mile stretch from San Antonio, the home of the Alamo, to Austin-Roundrock. This, my friends, is the I-35 corridor, a stretch of interstate highway that connects San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin and Dallas. Almost everyone has benefited one way or another from the massive growth happening in the region. Better jobs, more activities for the young professionals, and an overall increased quality of life. The growth in the region has, of course, brought upon Central Texas its unique set of challenges that one does not think of
right away.

No, it is not practically unaffordable real estate and rent. The biggest challenge lies in making these interconnected cities feel like home 24/7. Going home sure in the knowledge that the roads will be safe, our lights will turn on, and that water will flow when we take a shower after a long jog in Town Lake (Lady Bird Lake for you non-Austinites).


With the increased growth in population over last decade, the Central Texas region, that is known as the i-35 Corridor, has experienced its unique set of challenges. While home builders and apartment complexes make fortunes from overpriced property values, there is an unsung hero behind the scenes: the engineers who make all this growth possible. As mentioned previously, everyone expects their roads to be safe, their lights to turn on, and their water to run. In Texas, these are all major engineering feats. No, we’re not just flatland sitting on enormous oil and gas reserves. Central Texas is home to the Hill Country, one of nature’s gifts to the world; and as its name implies, it has plenty of hills.

So, how does one exactly get water to flow up the hill? Well, we didn’t know the answer either, and quite frankly, we still don’t, but some of the Benchmark International teammates live on top of hills. So, not having water up there would be a problem. Engineering firms in Texas have long solved problems before the growth spurt in Central Texas. The Colorado River dam for example, or the Houston Port.

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Benchmark International has successfully facilitated the sale of Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins to RTM Engineering Consultants

Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. is a leading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering firm specializing in commercial construction. The company has extensive experience in several different industries and has completed numerous projects for national retailers and hospitality companies throughout the US. Located in Springfield, MO, and Overland Park, KS, the company is licensed to perform work in all forty-eight contiguous states. Over its thirty-five years in operation, Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. has successfully completed hundreds of large-scale retail and hospitality projects.

Rod Finkle, President of Malone Finkle Eckhardt & Collins, Inc. commented, “We are excited about the acquisition and RTM’s future capabilities with the firm. Benchmark International’s transaction team provided a great buyer that fits perfectly with the culture of our company. Tyrus, and the team quickly sourced a motivated buyer which eventually turned into our exit strategy. We would like to extend a special thanks to the team that quickly brought us results in finding the right buyer.”

Tyrus O’Neill, Managing Director at Benchmark International, stated, “It was a pleasure to represent Rod and the firm in this transaction, and on behalf of Benchmark International, we are extremely pleased with the outcome. The acquirer and seller have numerous strategic synergies which has led to a great process and result. Overall, this has been a thoroughly satisfying experience and we wish both parties the best of luck moving forward.”

Established in 1981 and headquartered outside Chicago, RTM Engineering Consultants integrates MEP/FP and civil engineering services with sustainable design as a given. The firm goes beyond a typical consulting role and becomes a partner to clients by aligning with the goals, processes, and people at each organization. Licensed in all 50 states, its portfolio spans major market sectors nationwide. For more information,
visit www.rtmassociates.com.

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