RSK ramps up their buy and build strategy

Business Development May 03, 2019

RSK chief executive officer, Alan Ryder, featured in Environment Analyst and spoke about RSK’s recent acquisition activity and its ongoing business model.

RSK’s surge of 12 acquisitions in 12 months (FY18/19) has drawn the attention of the industry press. But, as Environment Analyst points out, it’s not “diversity for diversity’s sake. It’s a calculated move to shore up RSK’s life-cycle offering and to provide a one-stop-shop”. Each acquisition broadens RSK’s service offerings, both geographically and in terms of capabilities. Many, such as the habitat management company Twig, bring previously sub-contracted services in-house.

Alan told the publication, “I would quite like to see RSK become the premier environmental services firm in the UK. Our strategy is very different from our competitors: we offer an integrated solution of technical services, first class research and consulting. No one else offers the breadth of service that you find with RSK and that is a consequence of our strategy.”

The article details the funding acquired by RSK. In 2015, RSK secured a £33m loan from the private equity firm Permira, which was expanded to £140m in 2017. Later, in December 2018, RSK announced a £315m debt facility agreement with Ares Capital Europe, and a revolving credit facility provided by NatWest bank. How, asks Environment Analyst, does RSK protect itself from becoming over-leveraged?

“Our strategy is that we only invest money that results in a reduction in leverage,” Alan explains. “And so, although we have a lot of debt, each time we make an investment the leverage reduces. This approach is a cornerstone to our investment strategy.”

Alan also details RSK’s international expansion plans, citing Europe, Africa, India, Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region as key areas for consideration.

Working in Africa, confesses Alan, is a particular passion of his: “We are very busy currently in East Africa and have rapidly growing businesses in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. I love being there, the excitement of building a business in an emerging market, where we can do good things and make a difference. It is very satisfying.”

And of course, no business interview would be complete without a comment on Brexit! Alan is frank in expressing what perhaps many are thinking, “I am bored of Brexit and tend to ignore it. I can’t change it, so we will deal with the hand we are dealt and make the most of it.” And his advice for dealing with the perennial headache of Brexit? “Simply keep calm and carry on.”