IMMERSING OURSELVES IN OUR CLIENTS' STORY

H&MV and Clearwater: Driving exponential growth during a ten-year partnership

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In just a decade, specialist in high voltage electrical design H&MV Engineering has grown significantly. They have developed from being 50 employees to over 1,000, evolving from a domestic subcontractor to an international player striking deals with hyperscalers. 

When the management team first came to us looking to sell, they were achieving revenues of €7 million. However, we could see that there was far more opportunity ahead if they went down the route of taking private equity investment instead of selling out at that stage. They had built a great business in an interesting sector with some significant contracts in place. 

The last ten years has shown this to be the right pathway as the company has realised exponential revenue growth and has enormous potential ahead. 

A deep and productive relationship

We are privileged to have supported H&MV throughout this extraordinary 10-year journey, and to have developed a deep, ongoing relationship with the management team. 

We have advised the company during four pivotal transactions, including a major investment in 2022 by Exponent, a UK-based private equity firm. 

From the very beginning, our special relationship with H&MV has been forged by working together closely in a hands-on way, connecting on a human level, and demonstrating both expertise and loyalty. The story of the past decade is a prime example of the impact this kind of relationship can deliver.  

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Spotting the opportunity ahead and working in partnership with a fantastic, dedicated management team to realise superb results.

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An advantageous acquisition 

We recently advised Skanstec Group, a European engineering specialist focusing on infrastructure, on its sale to H&MV Engineering. This bilateral deal demonstrated the breadth and depth of our relationships, as we had deep existing connections with both management teams involved. 

We recognised that Skanstec would be an ideal fit for H&MV, not only in terms of technical capabilities and ambitions, but in terms of culture. The acquisition of Skanstec enabled H&MV to expand their areas of expertise into the mission-critical power and telecommunications engineering spaces, strengthening the group’s overall EMEA coverage. 

Here’s to the next ten years

Our ability to find precisely the right private equity partners is a differentiating specialism that we are immensely proud of. Our support for H&MV has demonstrated the highly selective, targeted approach we use, which has helped to yield transformational results. We are dedicated to identifying the highest possible level of compatibility, and this continues to make all the difference. 

Relationship building remains at the heart of our strategy, and we are passionate about the people involved. To this day, we continue to enjoy an extremely close and consistent relationship with the talented H&MV management team, and we are continuing to advise them on other potential acquisitions. 

Building momentum

When we first engaged with the business in 2014, we worked alongside the H&MV management team to develop the finance function, and to demonstrate the potential advantages of seeking private equity investment over selling outright. 

The following year we advised them on the management buyout (MBO) of H&MV by MML Growth Capital Partners Ireland, with the original founder exiting and relinquishing a 50% stake. This left the remaining management team with ownership of the other 50%, and the backing to now expand both domestically and internationally. 

H&MV went on to win a number of landmark contracts and treble employee numbers in the next three years, with MML finally exiting the business in 2018. Following further strategic advice from our team, an MBO from Novus Technical Services took place in September of the same year. The investment from this international oil and gas services group fuelled H&MV to continue its ambitious international growth plans. 

A steepening trajectory

In the four years following the Novus Technical Services MBO, H&MV opened new offices across Ireland, the UK and Europe, as well as a major design hub in India. The company’s expansion was accelerated during the period by multiple large-scale contracts with multinational clients, equipping the business to achieve revenues of €115 million and double its employees. 

In March 2022, Novus Technical Services fully exited, and we advised H&MV on the major investment from Exponent. As a result, the London-based private equity firm acquired a majority stake with the management shareholders of H&MV retaining a significant minority stake. 

We played an enabling role in the transaction, and identified key synergies that would support H&MV’s pipeline and steep growth trajectory. In a single year following the investment, the business doubled its revenues to reach €400 million in 2023, and are set up to continue to grow significantly. 

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“Clearwater have worked very closely with H&MV over the last decade, building a trusted and valued relationship over the course of four transactions to date. They have been with us on the journey from the start as we evolved from a company with less than 50 employees to over 1,000 today. Their deep network and expertise to identify the right partner for us, at the right time, from our initial MBO backed by MML in 2015 right through to a partnership with Exponent in 2022, followed by our acquisition of Skanstec has been invaluable in supporting our growth ambitions. Having Clearwater as our longtime trusted adviser as we scaled from an indigenous subcontractor to a leading European HV specialist has been instrumental in our success. We would like to thank John, JD and the Clearwater team for their expert advice time and time again “

PJ Flanagan, CEO H&MV Engineering

 

The Clearwater difference

 

1

Strategic advice to explore an alternative option we felt would work out better for the management team in the long term

2

Providing deep expertise and technical knowledge to guide each transaction

3

Conducting extensive research and harnessing the Clearwater network to identify transaction opportunities

4

Relationship building that stands the test of time

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