Yorkshire engineering and infrastructure giant NG Bailey has completed a major acquisition in the shape of Wakefield-based Freedom Group in a move which will create an expanded business turning over in excess of £600m a year.
Now part of the NG Bailey group, Freedom’s existing management team will continue to run the £120m turnover business under its existing brand.
David Hurcomb, NG Bailey’s chief executive, told The Yorkshire Post that the deal would allow the new group to accelerate rapidly and that the scale of the merger “added up to 2 + 2 making 5” for the respective parties.
The addition of Freedom’s 600-strong team will take NG Bailey’s headcount to 3,600 employees and will allow the group to extend its range of services and develop a presence in new sectors, specifically the electricity distribution network (DNO) market.
The sector is set for significant expansion over the coming years, with new technologies supporting the rapid growth of low carbon power generation in the UK and the development of increased battery storage capacity.
A spokesperson for the group added the acquisition also increases NG Bailey’s capabilities in sectors such as defence and airports, as well as expanding its engineering and maintenance services across major infrastructure portfolios, such as data centre telecoms and ports.
“Bringing Freedom Group into the NG Bailey family provides a natural extension to the range of services we already offer, particularly engineering and maintenance services.”David Hurcomb, NG Bailey’s chief executive.
“We concluded that this was something which would make a very good marriage,” Mr Hurrcomb told The Yorkshire Post.
“Freedom is a market leader with blue chip clients. It all adds up to a really good fit.
“We will be getting access to the regulated DNO space and we now have the physical mass to deliver upon long-term frameworks which adds up to a long term bigger order book.”
He added: “Combining our offerings strengthens both our market positions, but it also creates significant new opportunities for both businesses. It will enable NG Bailey to compete more effectively in new markets, specifically the electricity distribution sector. It is an area where our combined skills and market-leading approach to principal contractor management, design and BIM will add considerable value.
“Having Freedom’s skills and expertise will increase our capabilities within electrical infrastructure. It makes strategic and commercial sense to have Freedom as part of our group as it’s a well-respected company in a sector with strong future growth opportunities.”
David Hartley, chief operating officer of Freedom Group, added: “This transaction marks an exciting milestone in the development and growth of Freedom, which has become a well-established, successful business with a strong presence in its core market.
“Our existing knowledge of, and relationships with, the distribution network operators, combined with NG Bailey’s innovative approach to large engineering and services projects, provides a strong platform for sustained growth for both companies.
“The enlarged group will offer a highly-attractive, end-to-end proposition across electrical, mechanical and fabric maintenance services to a number of markets, focusing on outstanding technical expertise and project delivery.”
Mike Porter, chief finance officer and Jonathan Stockton, deputy chief finance officer, led the transaction for NG Bailey, with support from Andrew Coticelli of Deloitte in relation to tax due diligence; Giles Taylor and Nigel Hinchcliffe, of KPMG, for corporate finance advisory and financial due diligence, with Gareth Saynor of CMS leading the legal process.
Background of Freedom
Founded in 1996 Freedom has 16 offices throughout the UK and Europe.
It has provided engineering capital replacement projects and maintenance services, particularly within utilities, through its four divisions: Infrastructure Services, Networks, Power and Professional Services.
Freedom works primarily with Distribution Network Operators and private network owners across substations, overhead lines, underground cables, buildings and associated infrastructure.
Its key customers include Northern Powergrid, UK Power Networks, Electricity North West, Yorkshire Water and the Port of Felixstowe. In addition to its 600 employees it also has a team of some 400 sub-contracted specialists.