Stewart Group

Making a good business better
Adding value for Stewart Group

The opportunity
Through a network of wholly-owned subsidiaries and affiliates in over 50 countries, Stewart Group provides independent verification of the quantity and quality of commodity shipments, and also assesses samples for mining exploration. The group’s business is focused on two main commodity areas: metals and minerals; and coal and solid fuels.

We identified an opportunity to acquire the business from its founder and work with an enhanced management team to drive expansion through a combination of organic growth, acquisitions and operational improvements.

The strategy
Following the acquisition, we strengthened the management team by appointing John Notmann-Watt as Managing Director and Chris Fisher as Finance Director, both of whom had worked for the company for a period prior to our investment. Together, we created an ambitious value creation plan to grow the business organically and via acquisitions, while improving the group’s operational efficiency at the same time.

This plan included significant investments in systems and people, bringing new standards of professionalism to the business. We also invested €10m in testing facilities, including geochemical facilities in Russia and Mongolia, as well as a new laboratory in Kazakhstan. In addition, Stewart Group acquired five complementary businesses in Europe, North America and Africa, which enhanced its global coverage and service offering.

The result
Under our ownership, Stewart Group experienced substantial growth. We realised our investment through a sale of the business to ALS Group, a subsidiary of Campbell Brothers Limited which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. The investment generated a 3.6x return on invested capital.