Leeds-based Renew said Forefront replaces gas mains and other critical services for National Grid and Southern Gas Networks.
The gas infrastructure market is highly regulated. Forefront is working on the 30-year gas mains replacement programme which involves the replacement of iron gas mains pipes with polyurethane mains.
Renew’s chairman Roy Harrison said: “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.
“The gas mains network replacement programme provides Forefront with long-term visibility and excellent growth opportunities.”
The acquisition has been funded from the group’s cash resources and a four-year term loan of £12m provided by HSBC Bank.
Analyst Nick Spoliar at WH Ireland said: “Renew has announced the eight per cent earnings enhancing acquisition of Forefront Group. Renew is entering a new silo here, gas mains replacement and other critical services for National Grid and Southern Gas Networks.
“We view this as very congruent with Renew’s existing focus on UK infrastructure support.”
Forefront is one of only three companies approved by National Grid and Southern Gas Networks to undertake under pressure drilling on larger diameter live mains. The business also deals with emergency gas leaks.