Clearwater International advises Ascent on its refinancing to support its acquisitive growth strategy

Clearwater International has advised Ascent, a leading European digital services business, on its agreement with HSBC UK to refinance its existing facilities. This will provide liquidity for operations and strengthen Ascent’s overall M&A capabilities, with a pipeline of strategic acquisitions planned for within the next year.

Led by CEO Stewart Smythe, the main aims of Ascent’s buy and build strategy are to locate new regional sources for technical talent; enter other European markets and expand the company’s data engineering and business intelligence (BI) capabilities. The business employs 420 staff across the UK, Malta, Bulgaria and 14 other countries worldwide.

Ascent’s continual M&A growth will enable the company to seize new market opportunities which are driven by a rapidly increasing global demand for digital services. The majority of its revenues come from UK customers, but the company also serves customers in Europe and North America. Ascent has more than 150 customers across a broad range of verticals, including BrewDog, Centrica (Hive), Bosch, BT, BDO and - through its acquisition of Mango Solutions in 2020 - GSK, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Office of National Statistics and Hiscox.

Through HSBC’s funding, Ascent will be able to increase its financial flexibility to facilitate future growth, which will support its focus on integrated software and data capabilities to deliver effective digital transformation for customers.

Ascent has £75m (€90m) of funds to execute its ambitious growth plans that will enable it to build on its digital expertise through acquiring best-of-breed technology businesses and talent to become a leading digital services company in the UK and Europe.