PRIVATE equity firm WestBridge has completed a secondary buyout of Land Survey Solutions Limited (t/a Survey Solutions), a leading provider of engineering surveying and monitoring services to a range of sectors across the UK.
The transaction provides an exit for RJD Partners and the founder James Cooper, and sees WestBridge invest £14.2 million to take a majority stake in the business. The deal marks the second platform investment from WestBridge III.
First formed in 1997, Survey Solutions has experienced impressive growth to become a national company with 14 regional offices and 160 full time employees, most of whom are specialist surveyors. The business has also expanded its service offering to clients, adding capabilities such as drone surveying and hydrographics.
Survey Solutions provides land, building, underground and site surveys, along with a range of support services covering the lifecycle of a development. Working predominantly with housebuilders, contractors, architects, engineering consultants, agents and asset owners, the business works on projects in a diverse range of sectors, including infrastructure, agriculture, defence, transport, energy, retail, leisure, healthcare, education, heritage, and commercial and residential construction. It has a broad range of clients including Thames Water, Transport for London, Aecom, Jacobs, Balfour Beatty and Kier.
The buyout was led by David Lowe, who joined the company as CEO in 2022, along with the senior management team who have all been instrumental in driving growth over the last few years, both organically and through acquisition.
The WestBridge transaction team comprised Rebecca Sinclair and Peter Barkley, who both join the Survey Solutions board as directors, and Luke Gilbert, who becomes a board observer and will coordinate value creation initiatives.
Rebecca Sinclair, investment manager at WestBridge, said:
“Survey Solutions epitomises the type of business we are keen to back. It operates in a highly fragmented niche sector, where there is significant potential for further growth, not least through the adoption of technology and via strategic M&A opportunities.
“Furthermore, we have partnered with an ambitious and experienced management team. Working collaboratively with David and his team during the pre-deal process, we have identified a number of opportunities for rapid growth. These include geographic expansion, adjacent service line expansion and the adoption of new and innovative technology. We are confident that our Value Creation Model will help the business deliver on its ambitious plans through both sustainable organic growth and a strategic and targeted acquisition strategy.
“WestBridge has a strong track record of backing niche service providers operating in adjacent markets to Survey Solutions. We were particularly pleased to be introduced to David and recommended as the right partner to support his growth ambitions by the CEO of one of our current investments”.
David Lowe, who led the MBO, said:
“Survey Solutions holds a strong position in a niche and extremely fragmented market, with high barriers to scale. There is significant opportunity for growth, both organically and through consolidation.
“My colleagues and I have been immensely impressed with the team from WestBridge, who share our belief in the huge potential for growth that lies ahead.
“We are particularly enthused by the WestBridge Value Creation Model, which provides a blueprint for rigorously identifying revenue accelerating improvements and growth opportunities within the business.
“We are genuinely excited to be entering 2024 with WestBridge as our partner. With their strategic support and financial backing, I am sure my colleagues and I are about to start on a very exciting journey.
“I would like to thank RJD Partners for their support in the development of the business to date, and wish them the very best for the future.”
Peter Barkley, partner at WestBridge, added:
“We are delighted to have completed our second investment from our third fund within five months. The whole WestBridge team has been impressed by the experience and ambition of the management team and are excited about the business’ growth prospects.
“Our model is centred on partnership, backing outstanding teams and supporting them through our Value Creation Model to deliver rapid growth. We see a significant opportunity to build a leading platform in the UK surveying and monitoring market, providing outstanding outcomes for new and existing customers. There is huge potential for both organic and acquisitive growth.”