Northern RV acquired by Fleetwood Corporation

Our Client – The Vendor

Northern RV is an established supplier of products and services to Australia’s recreational vehicle (“RV”) sector. Operating for +10 years and employing +70 staff, the firm has developed three interrelated service offerings. Its core business is the provision of highly specialised Plumbing & Electrical Contract Labour Solutions to RV manufacturers. A separate Service Workshop provides warranty support as well as aftermarket maintenance, repairs, upgrades & import compliance to both trade and end-user customers. Finally the Business has become a leading national RV Parts & Equipment Distributor, acting as a wholesale supplier to manufacturers & registered trades and as a retailer through its workshop and online sales channels.

In 2017, having built the Business from a sole tradership to a market leading service provider, NRV’s owner engaged Johnsons to assist in finding a strategic suitor with the capabilities to continue scaling the business in a high-growth industry environment. For Johnsons, formulating a sale strategy presented a interesting challenge, given NRV’s diversified offering and its servicing of multiple disparate market segments. Successfully selling the Business – without breaking it up into its constituent divisions – would hinge on identifying a strategic acquirer with the scale and synergies to leverage NRV’s unique business model.

The Sales Strategy

With its track record for high growth and strong margins, Johnsons was confident that NRV Group would represent an attractive opportunity to potential acquirers. Furthermore, a number of factors underpinned strong future growth projections, not the least of which were NRV’s strong positioning in the fast-growing RV sector as well as its a long-standing customer-base and strong supplier relationships.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Australian RV Services Providers as a primary target segment. Secondary or related segments included Electrical & Plumbing Contractors, Labour Hire Firms, Parts & Equipment Distributors, and RV & Mobile Home Manufacturers as well as a shortlist of prospective private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 12 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer and backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 12 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

Fleetwood Corporation Limited (ASX:FWD) is a provider of innovative accommodation solutions as well as recreational vehicles, parts and accessories. With 8 manufacturing sites across Australia and over 250,000m2 of manufacturing capacity, Fleetwood’s acquisition of NRV enabled the company to broaden its exposure to OEM’s within the Caravan and RV sector.

Torque Industries acquired by Coventry Group Ltd.

Our Client – The Vendor

Torque Industries is a diversified engineering company offering total solutions primarily to customers who use hydraulic and pneumatic machinery. Based in Adelaide SA and operating from 3,000 sqm office & warehouse premises, Torque Industries comprises 3 divisions: Torque Hydraulics, IPS Automation and Hydra-Pac Waste. The Business generated revenues of $14M+ with approx. 20% EBIT margins and 35 staff servicing a broad range of industries including: agricultural, aerospace, exploration, industrial, marine, mobile, mining and materials handling. The Business designs and supplies turnkey solutions to both small and large companies across Australia as well as internationally to the USA, India, UAE, Korea, Vietnam and Singapore.

Established in 1985 under different ownership, the current three shareholders had further developed the business both organically as well as through acquisitions. They now sought an exit to focus on other business interests and required a new owner to take the Business through its next growth cycle. Torque had previously undertaken a sale process via a corporate advisor (on a selective basis). Although mild interest was generated, no deal eventuated. This time around they sought a different approach, and appointed Johnsons Corporate as specialist mid-market business brokers to assist with their objectives.

The Sales Strategy

Torque Industries represented an attractive acquisition opportunity for a strategic buyer. It held a strong market position, offered multiple growth opportunities, had experienced management and staff, diversified revenue streams, a loyal & diverse customer base, robust MIS, exclusive supplier agreements and a broad range of in-house technical capabilities.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing went beyond the obvious Hydraulic Engineering space to also incorporate Diversified Engineering, Industrial Automation, and Industrial Services Providers as well as selected private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that multiple qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 10 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

ASX listed Coventry Group Ltd provides industrial solutions to the mining, construction and manufacturing industries. At the time of purchase Coventry was turning over $150M via 4 industrial divisions with locations across Australia and New Zealand. The acquisition of Torque Industries aligned with Coventry’s strategic objectives to grow revenues and earnings.

ESO Surveyors purchased by Structerre Consulting

Our Client – The Vendor

ESO Surveyors is a well-known, specialist provider of surveying solutions to the Australian building & construction industry. Employing approximately 70 staff, the Business operates across the Eastern seaboard, with its head office located in Sydney and interstate branches based in Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. Acting as a key subcontractor to tier-one construction companies, it services a wide variety of major infrastructure projects, typically providing a full-time commitment of highly skilled surveyors using advanced technologies for complete survey management. Over its +27 years of operation, ESO has established a proven track record in Road, Bridge, Rail, Building, Civil, Pipeline, and Renewable Energy works. And as one of only a few players of its size and reach to specialise in construction surveying, the Business was well-positioned to benefit from Australia’s building & infrastructure boom.

The Business was established in 1990 by its Managing Director and had been run under management by its general manager since 2000. In 2017 the MD sought to establish a path to retirement, and Johnsons Corporate was appointed as a specialised mid-market business broker to assist with a national divestment campaign seeking a well-resourced strategic or financial acquirer able to guide ESO through its next growth phase.

The International Sales Strategy

For a strategic acquirer this represented an attractive opportunity, with strong future growth projections supported by Australia’s ongoing public infrastructure boom and with the genuine potential for attaining national reach. Additional acquisition highlights included ESO’s strong industry & customer relationships as well as its established operational platform – including its long-tenured 2nd tier management team.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Surveying & Mapping Services Providers both in Australia and abroad. As secondary target segments it also took into account related markets – including Consulting Engineers, Civil Construction Firms, and Quantity Surveyors – as well as a shortlist of potential private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered +30 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance being secured with the preferred buyer on pricing and terms acceptable to our client.

The Buyer

The acquirer – Structerre Consulting – is a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy with a national presence that offers structural, residential, geotechnical, commercial and civil engineering services along with structural inspections and energy assessments. As an acquisition, this was an opportunity for the Business to diversify further into an adjacent industry space.

Eastern Automation bought by HI Fraser Group

Our Client – The Vendor

Eastern Automation (“E-Auto”) is a niche provider of fluid power and process control solutions to a select mix of blue chip customers, who span the transport, water, construction, manufacturing, waste and petrochemical industries among others. Headquartered in Melbourne and with long-established factory infrastructure in China, the Business primarily operates as a manufacturer-supplier of premium hydraulic & pneumatic equipment – with its NATA testing accreditation offering customers the assurance of fully certified products. In Australia, E-Auto resells its own OEM products along with leading 3rd party brands as replacement or upgrade components used in the maintenance & repair of industrial equipment. It complements that offering with value-added services that range from engineering design to assembly & commissioning to maintenance contracting.

Positioned as an alternative to a traditionally labour-intensive in-house approach to maintaining operating stocks of fluid power equipment, E-Auto’s replacement-exchange business model has proven attractive to industrial customers while also generating strong margins. In 2018, after operating the Business for +20 years, E-Auto’s director sought a new owner to take over leadership of the firm and assist in executing strategies to capture multiple untapped opportunities for growth. As a specialised mid-market business broker, Johnsons Corporate was engaged to undertake a multinational divestment campaign on his behalf.

The International Sales Strategy

For a buyer, E-Auto represented a highly profitable business with deep customer relationships and high levels of repeat business as well as a significant pipeline of contracted works. Well-diversified, the Business generated both domestic & export revenues and balanced product sales with recurring income from service exchange and maintenance contracts.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on the global fluid power engineering sector – both major services providers and product distributors. Secondarily it identified Australian operators in closely related sectors including providers of diversified engineering services, industrial & mining services, and plant & asset maintenance. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 17 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 12 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

Founded in WA and headquartered in Sydney, H.I. Fraser Group is a growing professional engineering organisation that operates multiple subsidiary companies. Together they specialise in niche hydraulic, pneumatic and vacuum system design, build, supply, maintenance and certification. For the Group, this acquisition has extended its geographic footprint into Victoria, while also expanding its hydraulic offering.

Edington Agencies acquired by Aldridge Capital Australia

Our Client – The Vendor

Edington Agencies is a specialist provider of high quality, globally sourced electric motors and power transmission products that it supplies as part of best practice solutions to the HVAC and industrial service & replacement markets. Customers who rely on the Business for HVAC applications include HVAC contractors and wholesalers, electrical wholesalers and general electrical contractors; while customers who rely on the Business for industrial applications include small OEMs, manufacturers and engineering contractors. Run under management with a small team of highly-skilled staff, Edington’s long-term strategy of combining technical expertise with an extensive product range and high customer-service standards has earned the Business its undisputed position as the leader in the Queensland market. 

In 2018 Edington’s director engaged Johnsons Corporate as specialists in the sale of mid-sized businesses to undertake a strategic divestment campaign on his behalf. Having established and grown the Business since 1991, he thought the timing was right to pass ownership to a strategic suitor, who could best lead the Business through its next stage of growth.

The Sales Strategy

As a long established business with a track record of consistent revenue growth, this represented an attractive opportunity for a strategic acquirer. In addition to being run under management, Edington also featured strong supplier relationships, a long-standing customer-base, experienced management, and a highly skilled workforce. Looking forward a new owner could leverage these into multiple growth opportunities, including: interstate expansion; extension into related HVAC product categories; and/or enhanced distribution through the development of an ecommerce channel(s) to the trades market.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on commercial enterprises in the directly-related HVAC, Electrical Component, and Power Transmission supply segments, as well as the broader industrial product sector. It also took into account related markets – including Electrical contractors and Hydraulic Component distributors – as well as a shortlist of potential financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered +15 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 10 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

Aldridge Capital is an Australian investment company, based in Sydney, that holds multiple industrial businesses in its portfolio. The acquisition of Edington Agencies served to further diversify its holdings.

Crown Project Services sold to Currie & Brown

Our Client – The Vendor

Crown Project Services (“CPS”) provides independent project management services to Australia’s property & infrastructure sectors. The Business has a team of approximately 25 staff and specialises in managing building & construction projects that take place in active environments. Highly effective in handling these complex jobs involving large numbers of stakeholders, CPS had built an impressive track record of major project completions across Australia’s eastern seaboard. CPS predominantly focuses on the health & aged care, commercial, education, and public institutions markets and to a lesser extent large-scale residential. Its customer-base comprises large private companies and institutions as well as state and local government departments & agencies, with revenues split evenly between the private and public sectors.

After almost 15 years of building the Business and more than 30 years in the industry, the Owners wanted to setup a succession strategy and ensure continued future growth for CPS in a dynamic business environment. They sought a strategic acquirer to take the Business to the next level and were happy to provide a medium-term handover period to ensure business continuity. The Managing Director appointed Johnsons Corporate as specialists in marketing mid-sized businesses to international acquirers, mandating us to identify and approach several industry players and assist with sales and negotiations processes.

The International Sales Strategy

CPS represented an attractive opportunity for a strategic acquirer to leverage the company’s established client relationships, its broad eastern seaboard presence, and experienced project team members. Additionally, the Business provided an acquirer with strong repeat business from a cross-section of both private and public clients.

CPS was confident the acquirer would be a party they were familiar with and provided Johnsons with a list of 15 companies to approach. This was complemented by additional desktop research to incorporate additional prospective buyers from the Project Management sector as well as Commercial Real Estate, Engineering Services and Tier-1  Professional Service firms. The final target list incorporated companies from Australia, Canada, Germany, UK, Ireland, Lebanon, Singapore and Hong Kong. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered +15 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer from Hong Kong as well as a backup buyer, with Johnsons playing a critical role in bringing this cross-border deal to a successful completion.

The Buyer

Currie & Brown is a global asset management and construction consultancy with operations across Europe, Middle East, USA, Mexico, India and the Asia Pacific Region. The Business sought to expand its footprint in the Australian market by acquiring a head office in Sydney to complement its presence in Melbourne and Brisbane.

Critical Care Education Services acquired by Medcast

Our Client – The Vendor

Based in Melbourne, Critical Care Education Services (”CCES”) is a niche training organisation that provides highly specialised, face-to-face post-graduate training programs to healthcare practitioners across Australia. Over its more than 20 years of operation, the Business has solidified its position as one of the country’s leading, national suppliers of hands-on professional development in the field of critical care. Every year thousands of practitioners complete its “open” courses, while over the years more than 300 hospitals, practitioner groups, healthcare associations and tertiary education bodies have also contracted its services for the design & delivery of tailored in-house training & assessment programs.

Critical Care Education Services’s courses are differentiated by the quality of their content, materials and presentations. In addition to being endorsed by relevant industry bodies, both the open short-courses and in-house workshops fulfil Australian healthcare-industry criteria for continuing professional development. In 2017, having built a world-class training organisation, the Vendor sought to exit the Business in order to move into retirement. As specialised mid-market business brokers and with a track record in the RTO space, Johnsons was engaged to undertake a national divestment campaign for a strategic acquirer, who would be prepared to maintain its high standards of service and take CCES to the next level.

The Sales Strategy

For potential buyers CCES presented an attractive acquisition opportunity. High levels of repeat business and referrals meant revenue growth was only limited by the current structure and capacity of the Business’s resources. Strong industry relationships, an excellent reputation amongst thousands of healthcare practitioners, and a broad range of unique high-value IP also made the Business an excellent bolt-on candidate. Looking forward a new owner can be assured that future growth will be supported by strong demand drivers for continuing professional education in the Australian healthcare sector.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Australia’s Healthcare Sector, with Specialised Registered Training Organisations as a primary market. Secondary markets comprised a number of other related healthcare segments, including major care providers, professional associations, and specialised staffing providers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered +25 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 16 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

Based in NSW, the acquirer, Medcast, is an Australian health professional education company that provides a full range of e-learning solutions and blended courses to clients spanning corporate, government, NGOs and training organisations. The acquisition presented an opportunity to expand its face-to-face offering and diversify into tailored course services.

Computer Air Services sold to Grosvenor Engineering Group

Our Client – The Vendor

Computer Air Services was a leader in the supply, installation & maintenance of Mechanical, HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning) and related industrial products and services. Since its establishment in 1991, the Business had evolved into a “total solution provider” encompassing Mechanical, Electrical, HVAC, Fire Protection Services, OH&S design and audits and 24/7 Maintenance Services. Its broad technical expertise spread across +55 staff combined with an East Coast presence in VIC, NSW and QLD enabled the Business to reliably service a broad range of customers from various sectors including: banking & finance, medical, data centre, transport, distribution, manufacturing, commercial property, entertainment and government.

Having established and grown the Business for more than 20 years, three of the four Directors sought to exit, by way of sale to a third party, in order to retire and pursue other interests. They initially retained a second-tier Corporate Advisor to assist with the sale process. The Advisor took the traditional corporate advisory approach and short-listed 9 prospective industry buyers. However, no deal was able to be negotiated, and the Advisor told the Directors the Business was unsaleable. Following that experience, in early 2012 the four Directors engaged Johnsons Corporate as specialists in mid-market business sales to undertake a divestment campaign on their behalf.

The Sales Strategy

At the time of sale Computer Air Services was run under management by a CEO, employed 55 staff and generated over $11.5 million in revenues with a history of year-on year annual growth. As an acquisition, the Business represented a great bolt-on opportunity for a larger operator seeking expansion in the commercial and industrial sectors. The Business offered future growth opportunities to expand via its separate Operating Divisions as well geographically via its interstate presence.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on HVAC, Mechanical and Industrial Services businesses, while secondary target sectors comprised Commercial & Industrial Maintenance, Fire Services & Essential Services, and Electrical Contracting as well as a shortlist of prospective private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 30 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer as well as a backup buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 8 weeks of going to market.

The Buyer

The Purchaser, Grosvenor Engineering Group, is a leading provider of intelligent HVAC services and design & construction solutions. Computer Air Services was a fit with Grosvenor’s corporate growth strategy to provide clients with innovative, intelligent & sustainable HVAC and Mechanical Services.

Baxter Engineering sold via Management Buyout

Our Client – The Vendor

Baxter Engineering is a multi-disciplined engineering business servicing private, corporate and government clients and which operates from purpose-built facilities in the ACT. For over 40 years the Business has provided a mixture of engineering, fabrication and maintenance services through three divisions: structural steel, general engineering and machine shop. At the time of sale, it was the only locally-based engineering firm to collectively offer these three services. Operations comprised a team of 40+ long-serving, skilled tradespeople – with each division being run independently and overseen by an experienced supervisor.

In 2013 Baxter’s Directors engaged Johnsons Corporate as specialised mid-market business brokers to undertake a divestment campaign on their behalf. Having trebled revenues since acquiring the firm in 1992, they were seeking to exit by way of sale to a third party in order to provide a succession strategy for the Business and to facilitate their own retirement.

The Sales Strategy

For potential acquirers the Business featured a stable, repeat customer-base that had consistently generated stable revenues over the previous five-year period. Other highlights included: diversified recurring and project-based revenue streams, a visible pipeline of 6-9 months, preferred supplier status with key clients, a strong reputation in the local market and a well differentiated added-value offer. Baxter represented a solid standalone business or a great bolt-on. In either case a new owner would have several options to pursue further growth, ranging from taking a more proactive approach to marketing and business development through to investing in capacity and resources to undertake larger projects.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Fabricators and General Engineering businesses across Australia, while adjacent markets comprised: Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Structural Engineering businesses in Australia as well as a shortlist of private equity & financial buyers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 7 qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in a firm written offer from a Sydney-based engineering company. As a result of securing the offer as well as feedback from multiple prospective trade buyers, the vendors attained an accurate indication of the Business’s true market value – which then gave rise to an internal management buy-out by one of the existing shareholders and his family members working in the business.

The Buyer

In the end, the Vendors had comfort in selling the Business by way of an internal Management Buy Out at the headline price of the written offer secured by Johnsons Corporate. Johnsons assisted the Vendors with executing the MBO, including facilitating the legal process through to settlement.