RSK Group raises financing from funds managed by Ares Capital Europe and announces acquisitions of bts and tbf

December 21, 2018

Engineering and environmental services company the RSK Group Ltd has raised a new funding package in the form of a unitranche senior debt facility from funds managed by Ares Capital Europe (Ares).

RSK will use the funding to finance its strategic planned doubling in size over the next few years through development of new businesses and the acquisition of bolt-on complementary businesses. It has today announced the acquisitions of tree surgeons the bts Group and the tbf Contracting businesses tbf Traffic and tbf Scaffolding.

These are the seventh and eighth acquisitions that RSK – a privately owned company with 36 international offices, 2500 staff and an annual turnover of £200m – has made in the financial year 2018-2019. They follow six acquisitions made in 2017-2019.

RSK’s founder and CEO, Dr Alan Ryder, says:

“We were pleased that Ares was able to provide us with a funding strategy that left the equity in the hands of our leadership team and employees, so RSK staff will benefit from their hard work. The financing gives us the financial clout to continue our track record of acquiring businesses built by entrepreneurs that have a strong culture and loyal staff.

“RSK is delighted to join forces with bts and tbf and their extremely skilled workforce. They are excellent businesses which have a good cultural fit with RSK. Their teams have an impressive track record of delivering innovative solutions in a wide range of sectors. By bringing them under our umbrella we can release synergies, taking new services to our existing clients and taking our pre-existing services to the clients of our newly acquired businesses. Together, we can deliver added value to our combined client base.”

bts and the tbf companies are owned by the same shareholders. Headquartered in Suffolk, UK, they have a combined turnover of £22m, and 200 staff and 160 subcontractors in offices in Needham Market, Telford, Newark-on-Trent and Elgin, Scotland. bts provides arboriculture support for utility companies across the UK.

Two of its clients are UK Power Networks and Western Power Distribution. It recently secured a new contract with Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks to provide tree cutting services in Scotland.

tbf Traffic provides road and traffic management services to bts and a wide range of utility and civil engineering firms, while tbf Scaffolding provides services to a range of utility and construction firms on projects of all sizes.

bts and the tbf companies will join the agriculture, land and property management division of RSK.

bts and tbf managing director Halley MacCallum, who will join RSK and continue to lead the businesses together with their three current directors, says:

“Joining forces with RSK offers us market access to work on HS2 and other contracts which we’re keen to get on tender lists for. RSK has long provided arboricultural consultancy services and recently moved into the vegetation management marketplace, so being able to join forces with our leading tree and vegetation management services will lead to great synergies. This is an exciting opportunity for our staff and our businesses to expand into new fields.”

The Ares financing will also be used to boost RSK’s international growth, including through the opening of new offices. It is currently actively investing in EMEA, India, Africa and former Soviet Union countries and has an active client base of 7,000 organisations spread across these regions. It has 2,500 employees in 91 offices worldwide, including a growing business in Iraq and a new office which opened this year in Kenya.

Additionally, RSK plans to use the financing to expand the group’s fleet of equipment and add capabilities in its laboratories. It invests many millions of pounds each year into new tools and specialist equipment, including adding to its fleet of drilling equipment which already comprises the largest collection of site investigation equipment in the UK.