24/01/2020 - Market news
Deal volume increases by over 5% at Clearwater International in 2019
Mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International completed over 110 deals in 2019, with exceptional growth in Debt Advisory and the success reflected in the firm continuing to rise up the European ranking tables.
All geographies, sectors and service lines experienced exceptional levels of activity during 2019. The Industrials and Chemicals sector team experienced a bumper year with average deal values tripling on 2018. Key deals for the team included: the German team advising Sturm Holding on the majority sale of shares to Nimbus hands-on investors and the UK team advising on the on the management buy-out of SRL Traffic Systems supported by LDC and Crescent Capital. Likewise, the Business Services sector team experienced an active deal calendar which included the UK team advising on the MBO of the corporate clothing division of US-based Tailored Brands, Inc (NYSE:TLRD) which trades internationally through its Dimensions, Alexandra, Yaffy and Twin Hill brands. The Food and Beverage sector team also completed notable deals including the Irish team advising Boparan Holdings Ltd, the parent company of 2 Sisters Food Group, on the sale of Green Isle Brands Ltd.
For the fifth year running the business saw a rise in deals transacted by the European Debt Advisory team, this year reaching a 10% increase, with debt raised in 2019 in excess of €5.3bn. This increase saw Clearwater expand its bespoke debt team with two new recruits and two senior promotions during the year. Some notable transactions included: the German team advising Oiltanking GmbH (Oiltanking), a subsidiary of the Marquard & Bahls AG group (Marquard & Bahls), on a €1.5bn comprehensive refinancing and the UK team advising Daisy Group on the second phase of its recent refinancing with Ares in which the debt package consisted of over €1bn of debt facilities and was one of the largest private credit financings in Europe.
2019 also saw the team work on some 50 deals involving over 30 different PE firms, solidifying Clearwater’s top 10 position in the MergerMarket PE tables. Some notable transactions included: the UK team advising specialist workforce management and resource scheduling software provider Kirona on its sale from PE firms Livingbridge and LDC to Advanced, a provider of business software and services backed by US-based investment firm Vista Equity Partners. The Italian team also advised investment firm Platinum Equity on its acquisition of a majority stake in marine contractor De Wave Group from Xenon Private Equity.
Clearwater continued its growth in Europe with the integration of Milan-based Brera Financial Advisory in September 2019. The team in Milan has completed over 150 transactions in the last 20 years which only added to Clearwater’s firm position in the region placing the business in 15th place on the European MergerMarket tables. The team in Italy completed key deals including: advising Bouvard Group on two separate transactions including the partnership agreement with Lago Group, a leading company in the pastry and bakery sector and the acquisition of a 75% stake in Forneria Gusparo, an Italian company active in the production of sponge cake based and natural leavened products. The team also advised Airi on the sale of two of its subsidiary companies, active in the Italian helicopter market, Aersud Elicotteri and Helicopters Italia, to Airbus Helicopters.
Clearwater’s success was reflected in its recruitment activity across Europe and China, which saw 25% of the team promoted during 2019, including the promotion of Ben Bubrowski to Managing Director in Germany. The business also recruited partner Richard Goldsack to head up the new Leeds Office, opening in January 2020. Clearwater are committed to increasing diversity across the workforce and this year made headway with 42% of junior hires being female.
Michael Reeves, CEO, Clearwater International, said:
“Clearwater’s dedication to helping clients achieve their goals in this year’s challenging market place has resulted in another successful year for the business and more importantly our clients. We have remained committed to developing a skilled and experienced team internationally both by opening new offices and also developing our people, clearly recognised by our promotion figures. Whilst our clients remain confident in their ambitions, we also remain confident in delivering another successful year.”