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 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.