HSBC supports Renew’s acquisition of Forefront

Renew Holdings plc, the AIM-quoted West Yorkshire-based engineering services group, has acquired Forefront Group Ltd, an engineering services business based in the South East of England, with support from HSBC. The acquisition, for a cash consideration of £14.8 million, supports Renew’s strategy to broaden its range of engineering services for critical UK infrastructure.

The acquisition has been funded from the Group’s cash resources and a four-year term loan of £12 million provided by HSBC’s Yorkshire Corporate Banking team. The deal was managed by HSBC’s Senior Corporate Banking Manager, Neil Abbott. Renew was advised by Sean Wyndham-Quin from SPARK Advisory Partners and Debbie Jackson and Graham Mackenzie from Walker Morris.

Forefront is an engineering services business, headquartered in Leigh-on-Sea, which focuses on the gas infrastructure market. The business, which employs 350 highly skilled personnel, provides services to the National Grid and Southern Gasworks, replacing gas mains and other critical services in London and the South East of England. This includes supporting the 30 year gas mains replacement programme, along with emergency gas leaks and specialised drilling capabilities.

This follows the announcement in April that HSBC would support Renew’s acquisition of Clark Telecom Ltd for a cash consideration of £18 million, a business focused on the wireless telecoms infrastructure market.

Roy Harrison OBE, Chairman of Renew, commented:

“The acquisition of Forefront takes the Group into a new sector within the Energy market and is in line with our strategy of broadening our range of Engineering Services supporting critical UK infrastructure. As part of the Renew Group, Forefront, which has a leading industry reputation, will continue to develop its strong, independent brand. The gas mains network replacement programme provides Forefront with long term visibility and excellent growth opportunities.”

HSBC’s Deputy Head of Corporate Banking for Yorkshire, Mike Swift, said:

“We have been working with Renew for over four years and this is the fourth acquisition we have helped to fund. The deal with Forefront will build Renew’s revenues and is an important step in its diversification into new markets. Renew has a strong management team with a clear strategy, and the £12 million facility will provide a platform for further growth.”

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