NVM Make 3.1x on Optilan Exit to Blue Water Energy
NVM Private Equity has exited Coventry-based telecommunications and security systems integration provider Optilan following a secondary management buy-out by Blue Water Energy, delivering a 3.1x return on funds invested. NVM first supported Optilan in the £18 million management buy-out in 2008. Since then, under NVM’s ownership, Optilan have developed their technical capability and international footprint – opening operations in the Middle East, Azerbaijan, India and Turkey. They are now a truly international telecoms systems provider, serving the energy, transport, infrastructure and industrial sectors.
Despite challenging market conditions for the energy sector and political volatility in some of Optilan’s overseas markets, the business has grown strongly in the last three years, doubling profits over the period. The company’s expertise in integrated telecoms and security systems has allowed them to expand in developing markets in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. They have supplied pipeline security systems in Turkey, Iraq and India as well as providing telecoms systems to the Shah Deniz oilfield in Azerbaijan. They design and build systems for local operators as well as international companies such as BP, ABB and Petrofac. They have also continued to develop their UK business in rail and infrastructure services, with large projects currently being undertaken for customers including Crossrail, CityFibre and National Grid. This strategy has ensured that they have both grown and diversified revenue in terms of geography and sector.
The company employs a team of 175 people in the UK, involved in the design, engineering and project management for delivery of telecommunications and security systems integration projects. A further 42 people are employed overseas installing and maintaining their systems around the world.
This transaction is the sixth exit for NVM in the last 18 months generating exceptional returns for NVM and their funds.
Richard Buckland, CEO of Optilan, comments: “James and NVM have proved to be outstanding investment partners. They have been incredibly supportive and have used their experience and network to help us develop the capability and reach of the business since the MBO, building value for all shareholders. It has been satisfying to see our collective effort reflected in the strong performance of the business in the last few years and we are now positioned for further growth. We are looking forward to working with Blue Water Energy as we move into the next phase of the company’s development.”
James Arrowsmith, Investment Partner of NVM, comments: “We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the talented team at Optilan and seeing the business develop into a leading global telecoms solutions provider following the original buy-out. The strategy of developing the business’s international footprint and technical capability has been highly successful, despite a challenging market backdrop, and we believe that Optilan can continue to grow from this point with the team and market presence that they now have. We wish management well as they work with Blue Water to continue building what is a highly successful Midlands business which exports British expertise around the world.”
Principals and key advisers to the transaction
Corporate finance advisers: Simmons & Company International – Nick Dalgarno, Fraser Dobbie and Aimee Colebrook.
Legal advisers: Eversheds Sutherland – Antony Walsh, Wyn Jones, Alex McCarney
Financial due diligence: BDO – David Billington and Graham Elsworth
Founded in 1990 by a group of friends, Optilan remains privately owned, so it’s no surprise that talented and enthusiastic people remain the lifeblood of our business and that our culture is a mixture of hard work, determination and a team ethos.
Throughout our history we have added strength and depth to our management team to make sure we are well placed to grow the business in the markets we serve.
Our headquarters are in the UK (Coventry), where over 200 people are employed. We have regional offices in Russia (Moscow), Azerbaijan (Baku), India (Gurgaon), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi & Dubai) and our US subsidiary operates from Houston.
With passion, commitment and understanding at the heart of all we do, we are a telecommunications systems integrator providing ‘turnkey’ communication systems, from design to site commissioning and support. Our reputation is built on our ability to offer individually tailored, innovative solutions that deliver value for money, resilience and flexibility.
Source NVM’s press release