26/07/2018 - News

Clearwater International climbs 7 places in European rankings

Mid-market corporate advisory firm Clearwater International, climbs seven places in MergerMarket’s European rankings table, as well as experiencing a significant jump to 2nd place in the European Private Equity Advisory table.

Clearwater has completed a high volume of deals, sitting at 12th place in the European rankings, having completed over 50 transactions in H1. Recent significant deals have included advising major brands such as: Pizza Hut Restaurants UK on the management buy-out, supported by Pricoa Capital Group; and private equity firm Montagu on the disposal of French margarine and soya desserts specialist St Hubert, to Fosun.

Clearwater jumped to 2nd place within the Private Equity Advisory table and continues to see high levels of interest from PE firms with almost 70% of transaction involving PE, transacting with over 30 different PE firms. Over two-thirds of Clearwater’s debt advisory deals now have private equity involvement; the business continues to see a high level of debt opportunities, with over 40% of deals involving the debt advisory team.

Marcus Archer, Partner and Head of Private Equity UK, Clearwater International commented: “We continue to see a strong appetite from private equity investors as they seek to support quality management teams and enhance existing portfolio companies through new platforms. With a buoyant debt market and surplus capital to deploy, we expect the high level of private equity activity to continue. At Clearwater we invest in originating opportunities for private equity which is evidenced in our strong pipeline and repeat business.”

Recent key transactions have included advising leading affordable housing provider Westleigh Partnerships, on its sale to housing developer Countryside Properties plc. The transaction provided a return of over a 3x and a 90% IRR within two years of the original investment by Palatine. Another key deal involved advising HgCapital Trust plc on its investment in Adelis Equity backed IT Relation, a leading supplier of managed IT services to small and medium sized enterprises. This was Clearwater’s third transaction with IT Relation, demonstrating the strong relationships built with clients.

The Clearwater consumer team completed eight transactions worth c.€570m predominantly within the leisure space. Consumers continue to be increasingly health conscious, earlier this year Clearwater International advised low cost gym group Fitness Hut, on its sale to Viva Gym. More recently Clearwater also advised gym group Arsenal Grupo Deportivo, on its real estate investment; and thermal resort and spa operator Arendour, on its disposal to SRS. An additional trend of buying holiday packages online is driving deal activity, as demonstrated by Clearwater’s debt advisory team advising Livingbridge on its investment in Loveholidays, the UK’s fastest growing online travel agency.

Gareth Iley, Partner and International Head of Consumer, said: “Our consumer team has had an excellent start to the financial year. Significantly, five of our completed deals were in the leisure and activity sector, transacting with spas, gyms, restaurants and holidays businesses. Health & fitness and leisure are two growing sectors as consumers seek to develop healthier lifestyles and enjoy time with family and friends. Despite some uncertainty in various territories and sectors – for example concerns in the UK regarding the pressures on high street retailing, all seven deals involved raising capital from PE and/or debt funds, demonstrating the continued interest in consumer assets from financial investors.”

Following a strong start to the year, the business continues to develop its team with over 20 internal promotions. Clearwater remains focused on originating opportunities and delivering the best results for its clients.

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