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M&E firms circle Rotary Group

M&E firms are circling Rotary UK after its collapsed Australian parent group announced the “fast-track sale” of the contractor.

Engineering firm the Hastie Group and its Australian subsidiaries entered voluntary administration on Friday (25 May).

Hastie bought Rotary UK and Rotary Ireland four years ago, but the firms have been operating as standalone businesses.

Spie Matthew Hall’s director and head of acquisitions Renaud Digoin said his firm was “tracking a series of companies” and that Rotary Group was on its “radar”.

Lorne Stewart, which has previously been vocal about its acquisition strategy, is also understood to be interested in the company.

Emcor has been linked with previous acquisition targets,  while Imtech has previously expressed its interest in further consolidation.

Phil Laidlow, chief executive officer at Rotary UK and Ireland, said in a statement that the collapse of Hastie was “an opportunity for Rotary UK and Ireland to emerge as a separate independent group”.

He said: “Preparations for a rapid sale of business process are already under way in order to sell the Rotary UK and Ireland businesses as going concerns.”

Mr Laidlow added that Rotary UK and Ireland were “not in any form of insolvency and continue to be operated under the control of the existing directors and management team on a full business-as- usual basis”.

He said the recent events at Hastie had created a period of uncertainty, but that the firm had “sufficient liquidity headroom to meet current obligations in the normal course”.

Rotary Group has worked on Media City in Manchester, and is thought to be bidding for the  £30 million M&E job on the Houses of Parliament against Balfour Beatty and SSE Contracting.

Merger and acquisition experts told Construction News the M&E market was ripe for consolidation, but cautioned that the nature of the fast-track sale may cause some nervousness.

It follows the collapse of  MJN Colston in February, when Integral bought a number of  its sought-after Ministry of Defence contracts.

Last week, Airedale Electrical was placed into administration although its group company Airedale Mechnical and Electrical continues to trade.

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