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  • You are here:M&A

Morrison Utility bought by private equity firm for second time

Private equity company PAI Partners has acquired the parent group of Morrison Utility Services for an undisclosed fee.

Paris-based PAI has agreed a deal with fellow private equity firm First Reserve Group for its M Group Services business, which comprises Morrison Utility Services as well as contractor Dyer & Butler.

The deal will be officially agreed following approval from the European Commission, which is expected be completed in late August.

PAI has said it will not change any of the ownership or management within M Group Services’ subsidiary businesses: Morrison Utility Services, Morrison Data Services, Dyer & Butler, Magdalene, PMP Utilities, and M Group Services Plant & Fleet Solutions.

M Group Services is one of the UK’s largest utility services firms and carries out work for major clients across electricity, gas, water and telecommunication sectors.

It currently employs more than 8,000 people across its businesses and last year posted turnover of nearly £1bn.

M Group Services chief executive Jim Arnold said: “During the last few months we have continued to work closely with First Reserve on the next stage of our growth.

“As part of this process an opportunity arose that has allowed First Reserve to realise the benefits of their investment to date, and for us to introduce PAI as a new long-term investor to sit alongside the existing senior management and actively support the future development of the group.”

The sale by First Reserve comes just two years after it bought M Group from Bregal and Motion Equity Partners in July 2016.

M Group has been on buying spree since being taken over by First Reserve, making five acquisitions since November 2016 including rail contractor Dyer & Butler in December 2016 and PMP Utilities in March 2018.

PAI, which manages €12.3bn (£10.8bn) of assets, is a major investor in business across Europe and currently has investments in 10 businesses across the continent.

The private equity firm also bought France’s second-largest contracting services firm Spie in 2006, which it then sold in 2011.

PAI Partners partner Colm O’ Sullivan said: “PAI has closely followed the business since 2013 and we have been very impressed by the transformation achieved by its management team – in particular its expansion beyond utilities.

“We intend to continue the strategy of consolidating the UK infrastructure services market.”

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