CBPE Capital LLP (CBPE) has exchanged contracts to sell Stewart Group to ALS Group, a subsidiary of Campbell Brothers Limited (listed on the Australian Stock Exchange). CBPE originally backed the Buy-in / Management Buy-out of Stewart Group from its founder in 2006, alongside a management team led by Managing Director John Notman-Watt.
The transaction, which is expected to complete during July, brings a return of 3.6x CBPE’s total investment of £25m. Stewart Group is a global provider of Inspection, Analysis and Consulting services to companies operating in the Minerals sector. Headquartered in Knowsley, UK, the business operates in over twenty countries worldwide. Under CBPE’s ownership, Stewart Group has demonstrated strong growth, both organically and through a series of acquisitions.
The business’ customers operate across the mining lifecycle, from greenfield exploration to commercial supply and trading. During the period of its investment, CBPE supported Stewart Group in making five acquisitions, most recently the acquisition of G&T Metallurgical Services, which further broadened the Company’s technical capability, capacity,
geographical coverage and customer service capabilities.
The sale of Stewart Group marks a second successful investment in the Testing/Inspection/Certification (TIC) sector, following CBPE’s previous investment in Moody International. Commenting on the sector, Andy Nelson, Investment Director at CBPE said: “the underlying dynamics of regulation and quality, coupled with the opportunity to invest in internationally diversified businesses, make the TIC sector an area of strong continuing focus for CBPE.”
Commenting on the exit, Iain Slater, Partner at CBPE, said: “this is a great outcome for us and for Stewart Group. We backed a business plan comprising operational improvement, organic growth, plus complementary acquisitions and it is pleasing to report success in each of those areas.”
John Notman-Watt, Managing Director of Stewart Group, added: “I would like to thank CBPE who have been a supportive investor throughout Stewart Group’s journey over the last five years. ALS Group is an excellent strategic partner and a market leader in our sector – the combination of ALS and Stewart Group represents a truly global force as an integrated service provider to the Minerals industry.”
The management team, led by John Notman-Watt, will remain with the business under its new ownership.