14/01/2019 - News

Deal volume increases by over 10% at Clearwater International in 2018

Mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International completed over 110 deals in 2018, with the average value also increasing by 45%. All geographies, sectors and service lines experiencing exceptional levels of activity.

The Consumer and Business Services sector teams were the most active with deal completions. This included the UK team advising telecom infrastructure services provider WHP Telecoms Limited, on its buy-out from Palatine Private Equity, supported by private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe and also advising Pizza Hut Restaurants UK on a management buy-out. The keynote cross border deal of the year came in the Food and Beverage sector - when Clearwater advised Montagu Private Equity on its €625m sale of St Hubert to Fosun, Sanyuan Foods.

2018 saw Clearwater continue to increase its work with private equity (PE). The team worked on 70 deals involving over 40 different PE firms; some notable transactions (in addition to those noted above) included: the UK team advising leading affordable housing provider Westleigh (a Palatine Private Equity investment), on its sale to housing developer Countryside Properties plc; a joint team from Denmark and Germany advising Danish industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co. on the acquisition of Switzerland-based CCS Group (CCS) by its portfolio company GPV, and the landmark sale of KN Group to Circet (an Advent portolio company), advised by the Irish team. The Danish team also provided buy side support to HgCapital Trust plc on its investment in IT Relation (a leading supplier of managed IT services).

Clearwater continued to release quarterly updates to its Multiples Heatmap research, in association with Unquote. This bespoke analysis of the multiples being paid by PE for businesses across Europe, has led to the Clearwater team increasingly supporting PE on their investment decisions; deployment of capital remains priority for PE in 2019, albeit in a less settled economic backdrop.

For the fourth year running the business saw a rise in transactions involving debt advisory, with over a third of its deals being supported by the debt team. This increase, and the continued diversification of funding universe, meant Clearwater expanded its debt team with further eight new recruits. In August, the French debt advisory team advised RemadeGroup on a €125m financing – one of the largest unitranche transactions in the market in 2018 and in December the UK team advised on the MBO of We are Discounts – a deal supported by debt and working capital facilities from Muzinich and Natwest.

Clearwater’s success and commitment to developing its team was reflected in its continued recruitment activity across Europe and China, including new partners in France: Octavius Mihaies, Denmark: Carsten Rydahl, Jakob Tolstrup Kristensen, Lars Rau Jacobsen and Simon Bang Mikkelsen, and the UK: Richard O'Donnell, Robert Burden and Michael Loudon. These new partners will all contribute to Clearwater’s breadth and depth of sector knowledge.

All this progress did not go unnoticed with the team winning multiple awards including; Corporate Financier of the Year at the Unquote Private Equity awards, Insider’s Deal of the Year and Team of the Year in multiple UK regions and a prestigious Best of Consulting award in Germany.

Michael Reeves, CEO, Clearwater International, said: “2018 was an outstanding year for Clearwater in many areas, but more importantly it was also a great one for our clients. In an environment of uncertainty we prove again and again that we have ability, and the commitment, to support our clients in realising their goals. The coming twelve months promise to be full of opportunities, and challenges, and we will continue to support our team and our clients to achieve their ambitions.”

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