Vision Environment sold to Trinity Consultants, Inc

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Based in Gladstone QLD, Vision Environment (“VE”) is a boutique environmental consultancy with a wide range of capabilities relevant to saltwater, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems. Its core business is the provision of water quality monitoring services to clients involved in commercial dredging &/or other industrial activities that impact on marine environments. The Business differentiates itself by bringing together a highly qualified and multi-disciplinary team of experts with a suite of its own proprietary research & technology solutions to offer real-time, fully-validated water quality monitoring. The strength of VE’s niche offering – backed by a 10-year track record – has seen this mid-sized, regional operator regularly win interstate engagements as well as overseas in New Zealand.

Vision was established in 2008 by two doctorate holders with deep environmental science experience, focused on applying the rigours of scientific investigation and academic research to the design & delivery of its service offering as well as to the development of its own technology solutions. After more than 10 years building the Business and 18+ years in the industry, the Directors wanted to setup a succession strategy and ensure continued future growth for the Business. They engaged Johnsons Corporate to undertake a sales campaign, seeking a strategic acquirer that could take the Business to the next level.

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For prospective buyers, VE represented an established profitable business with a strong pipeline of future works, in addition to a highly experienced team, loyal customer-base and strong industry relationships. Furthermore, it presented multiple opportunities to leverage the strength of its unique offering and proprietary technologies into new markets &/or geographies.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Environmental Consultancies in Australia and overseas as the primary target market. Secondary research segments spanned Engineering Consultancy, Project Management, Assets & Infrastructure Management, Dredging Services, and Testing & Inspection Services. Johnsons ran a proactive international marketing campaign that uncovered 21+ qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 16 weeks of going to market.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade Buyer

Texas-based Trinity Consultants Inc is a PE-backed EHS (environmental health and safety) consulting company with offices across the United States, Canada, the UK, Asia and Australia. The acquisition of Vision Environment has increased the diversification of its service offering and has further added to its growing geographical footprint in Oceania.

Empowered Learning sold to Modern Star

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Empowered Learning (“EMPL”) is a long standing and market leading provider of interactive AV technologies to the education sector. It specialises in delivering a comprehensive ‘one stop shop’ solution to schools seeking to integrate innovative and collaborative technology into the classroom. Over more than 14 years of operation, the Business had successfully navigated the changing learning environment to embed itself as a key supplier of AV solutions to both the public and private educational sectors. Renowned for delivering fully commissioned projects on-time with high levels of customer service and attention to detail, the Business benefited from both repeat business and referrals.

In 2019, having previously taken the business to market via another broker where a satisfactory outcome wasn’t obtained, the shareholders met with Johnsons Corporate to discuss their objectives and EMPL’s likely market value range. After analysing the financials and various discussions, Johnsons Corporate was appointed to identify suitable national and international strategic acquirers and to sell the Business.

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For a strategic acquirer this represented an attractive opportunity, featuring strong year-on-year revenue growth, high levels of repeat business and a solid pipeline from a sizable and financially secure customer-base. With strong sales growth budgeted for FY20, the Business was well positioned to capitalise on various growth opportunities as audiovisual technologies across the education sector continued to develop.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on Audiovisual Technology resellers in Australia and overseas as the primary target sector. Secondary segments took into account related markets in Australia – including Unified Communications Providers, Technology Resellers, Electronic Security Providers, and Other Educational Suppliers. Johnsons ran a proactive direct marketing campaign that uncovered 24+ qualified, interested parties. Further vetting and negotiations resulted in the selection of a preferred buyer, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 8 weeks of going to market.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade Buyer

The acquirer – Modern Star Group – is private equity backed and Australia’s number one partner and supplier of educational resources to early childhood centres and primary schools, with a growing presence across Asia, including China, Hong Kong and Singapore. For Modern Star this represented a synergistic acquisition that complemented their growth plans and core business.

Workforce Clothing sold to ATOM

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

Our Client – The Vendor

Workforce Clothing was a long-standing and trusted supplier of high-quality industrial workwear to a variety of market sectors in WA. The Business distributed a wide range of products including its own brands, Workforce & F-Tech, as well as other reputable makes – with lines spanning shirts, jackets, overalls, pants, boots, protective equipment, and corporate & leisure attire. With its consistent focus on customer service and a competitive offering, the Business built a loyal base of repeat clients, predominantly larger national operators in the mining & resources, engineering services, civil contracting, transport, and manufacturing sectors. It was able to leverage those relationships into interstate sales and the establishment of its own infrastructure in SA and NSW.

Originally founded in 1972, Workforce was acquired by the CIL Group in 2011, a privately-owned diversified industrial products company. In 2018 CIL’s directors made a strategic decision to divest non-core assets and re-focus their energy and resources on core product lines. They engaged Johnsons to undertake a divestment campaign on their behalf, seeking a strategic acquirer with the resources to continue Workforce’s growth and development.

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For potential acquirers, Workforce presented a compelling proposition, as an established and leading WA supplier with a blue-chip customer base, a stable of reputable brands including proprietary product lines, strong sector diversification, and a highly capable sales & service team. Looking forward there would be multiple future growth opportunities, including the potential for further geographic expansion and the ongoing development of the own-brand product range.

Johnsons Corporate’s custom research & marketing focused on identifying Australian suppliers of industrial workwear as a primary target segment. Additionally, suppliers of personal protection equipment and corporate workwear were targeted as secondary, or related, segments . 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, with Offer and Acceptance secured within 8 weeks of going to market.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Related Trade Buyer

ATOM is one of Australia’s leading and fastest growing Industrial Hardware & Safety Equipment suppliers, servicing the Mining & Civil, Oil & Gas, Government, Electrical, Maintenance Repair & Operations, Commercial, Construction, Agriculture, Infrastructure & Engineering industries. This acquisition served to extend its product range as well as its geographic scale.

NRV's service workshop for recreational vehicles

Northern RV acquired by Fleetwood Corporation

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

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.

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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.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The ASX-Listed Trade 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.

Montage of Torque Industries services & products

Torque Industries acquired by Coventry Group Ltd.

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

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.

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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.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The ASX-Listed Trade 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 surveyor and vehicle on worksite

ESO Surveyors purchased by Structerre Consulting

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

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.

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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.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade 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 workers on factory floor

Eastern Automation bought by HI Fraser Group

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

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.

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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.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Strategic Trade 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's customer reception area

Edington Agencies acquired by Aldridge Capital Australia

THE DIVESTMENT CAMPAIGN

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.

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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.

(Read more about how using a Specialised Mid-Market Business Broker Approach to selling your business could get you a better outcome – just like our client).

The Australian Financial 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.