Posted: 9 December 2019

Aptus Utilities secures private equity support to accelerate growth

Aptus Utilities secures private equity support to accelerate growth

WestBridge supports the MBO of Aptus Utilities, one of the UK's leading providers of multi-utility services.

WestBridge invested £12.8m in the transaction alongside further finance provided by OakNorth Bank.

Established in 2010, Aptus is fully accredited to design, build, install and connect gas, electricity and water networks, as well as street lighting, on residential, commercial and industrial developments. By providing a complete, integrated package of services, Aptus ensures improved site development efficiency which enables developers to accelerate the completion, marketing and sale of their plots.

Working closely with national and regional housebuilders, Aptus has experienced strong growth over the past decade. 

As well as being featured in a report by the London Stock Exchange Group, ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’, Aptus was also included in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 in both 2016 and 2017.  Recently, the business was included in the ‘Greater Manchester Fastest 50’ for the fourth consecutive year.

Headquartered in Bolton, Aptus has four regional depots across the UK and currently has turnover of c.£42m.

Managing director Lisa Kerford and the rest of the executive team, who have been running the company’s day-to-day operations, will continue to steer the company’s development and deliver the business plan.  They will be joined by Martin Donnachie, who has joined the business as executive chairman.

The founders, Andrew Reay, Jonathan Holden and Fred Story, remain significant shareholders.  Holden and Reay will remain involved as non-executive directors of Aptus and will continue to support the executive team alongside WestBridge through the next stage of growth.

The WestBridge transaction team comprised Tim Whittard, Guy Davies, James MacLeay Peter Barkley and Rebecca Sinclair.  Whittard, Davies and Barkley will be actively involved in supporting the development of the business.  The OakNorth transaction team comprised Stewart Haworth and Dan Martin from their Manchester office.

Tim Whittard said:

"We are delighted to have completed this investment in Aptus.  Jonathan Holden, Andrew Reay and Lisa Kerford have created a highly respected, well-run business that has grown substantially each year from inception.  We are very excited about joining the team as the company continues its impressive track record of growth and development.  Furthermore, we believe that securing Martin Donnachie as executive chairman, significantly adds to the DNA of the business, creating arguably a market leading executive team."

Guy Davies added:

"This transaction is a landmark deal for WestBridge and importantly validates our regional business model, being the second WestBridge II funded transaction in the north west.  We are looking forward to working with the existing shareholders and are delighted to have been able to facilitate the senior executive team participating in the ownership of the business."

Lisa Kerford, managing director at Aptus, said:

"We are all delighted to finalise this deal and look forward to working with Martin and WestBridge to further grow the business and deliver the business plan.  Both Martin and the WestBridge team have experience which will provide greater strength and depth to the company’s board."

Jonathan Holden, founder at Aptus, said:

"We have been working closely with WestBridge to finalise this transaction over the last few months.  They have proven to be an ideal partner, taking time to fully understand the business and finding a way to structure a transaction to meet the objectives of all parties.

"The founders are very excited about the next stage of Aptus’s growth and are looking forward to being part of an enhanced wider team."

Martin Donnachie, executive chairman at Aptus, said:

"I have admired Aptus, its reputation and success for many years. Aptus is a well-respected business with an impressive portfolio of client companies.  It has collaborated with the industry it serves to create an efficient and streamlined process that saves developers time and money.

"I am very enthusiastic about joining the business as chairman and am impressed with the quality of business and team Jonathan Holden and Andrew Reay have assembled.  I am confident that the business has an exciting future."

Stewart Haworth, director OakNorth Bank plc, added:

"We’re delighted to have supported this deal, which is one of the first transactions sourced and completed from our new debt finance team in Manchester.  Aptus is a leading player in its field and we’re looking forward to working with the wider management team and WestBridge, supporting the business as it goes from strength to strength."

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