Posted: 28 April 2023

Spotlight on … APEM

Spotlight on … APEM

Interested to know a little more about the companies we invest in? What we look for in them? How we deliver value creation? Peter Barkley, partner, tells us a little about APEM.

1.Tell us a little about APEM.

APEM provides environmental consultancy, laboratory services, field surveys and remote sensing capabilities to customers within the water, renewables, construction and development, marine and ports, power and utilities, environmental and transport sectors.

Having started out as a small niche consultancy in 1987, APEM has grown into a global environmental consultancy.  The company now provides a comprehensive range of niche services to blue chip companies, government bodies and regulatory authorities across Europe, the US, Australia, and Asia.

Headquartered in Manchester, APEM has nine UK offices plus others in Ireland, Australia and the USA, and employs 540 highly qualified and specialist staff.

2. When and what did WesBridge invest?

WestBridge invested £10m in 2019 to support the management team acquire the business from the founder.

3. What was it about APEM that appealed to you?

The niche expertise within the business was renowned and we saw a huge opportunity to scale the business rapidly to become a global leader through partnering with the management team.

4. How is Westbridge adding value?

WestBridge has a growing reputation for partnering with management teams to rapidly scale a business. Initially, we provided support to scale the sales engine, allowing the business to build a culture of high quality conversations with customers and drive a significant level of organic growth. This has increased the value of tenders the business is submitting from £25m per annum to £150m in 3 years.

We have supported management to invest significantly in building bandwidth at the senior table adding a chief financial officer, chief people officer, chief strategy officer and a managing director for each of the divisions. This has allowed the business to cope with rapid growth and provided executive resource to focus on the wider business strategy.

In addition to this, we have supported the business to invest in upgrading systems and process to maximise operational efficiency.

The above initiatives created a highly scalable platform and that allowed us to embark on an acquisition plan.  In the last 18 months, we have acquired three businesses. Overall, the business has grown from £10m revenue and £2m EBITDA to £40m and £8m EBITDA within a 4 year period.

5. And what of the future?

APEM continues to deliver rapid organic growth and is alert to the opportunities presented by acquiring complementary niche consultancies. The business continues to expand its geographic footprint with significant opportunities in the US and Australia.


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