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14 July 2017

Catapult portfolio company, BWB, joins CAF Group

Catapult is pleased to announce that its portfolio business, BWB Consulting, one of the UK’s leading design engineering consultancies, has become part of the global transport engineering giant CAF Group.  The transaction, which will see BWB embark on significant expansion in the UK and abroad, has delivered an excellent return for the Catapult Growth Fund with an initial cash return in excess of 2.5x.  Catapult Growth Fund also retains a significant portion of its shareholding in the business.

A multi award-winning business, delivering advice and solutions to clients in the property, development and construction industries, BWB employs more than 300 people across seven offices in England’s main cities and has an annual turnover of more than £23m.

CAF, which is headquartered in Spain, designs, manufactures, maintains and supplies equipment and components for rail systems across the globe. With annual revenues in excess of €1.3 billion, CAF provides integrated rail solutions for all types of system which, in addition to the supply of trains, includes feasibility studies, civil engineering design, electrification, signalling, maintenance and system operation.”

It is acquiring BWB in a phased transaction over the next three years. The terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but all of BWB’s leadership team, led by CEO Steve Wooler, is staying with the business and will continue to drive its proven, and highly successful, growth strategy.

Steve Wooler paid tribute to the support provided by Catapult during a critical phase of the company’s evolution: “Catapult not only saw the long-term potential in BWB Consulting, but it also stood by us during the protracted and exceptionally challenging period for the UK economy that hit us hard shortly after completing our management buyout in 2008”.

“We are now on the threshold of an even more exciting moment in the history of the business, joining a group which has significant ambitions for BWB not just in the UK but in other English-speaking markets. The faith that Catapult have shown in the business over the years has provided critical support that has enabled us to secure this position.”

Duncan Cameron, Director of Catapult Ventures, commented “We are delighted that BWB has been such a successful story to date.  Catapult’s business is to back management teams with the vision and commitment to achieve business growth and create value.  The BWB team, led by Steve Wooler, have shown great ability in accelerating BWB’s development as an exciting and innovative consultancy.  The transaction with CAF represents a further tremendous opportunity for everyone at BWB and we are also excited about this next stage in the company’s progression.”

Josu Imaz, CAF Group’s Director for Subsidiaries and Corporate Development added: “We see BWB Consulting as the best of British design engineering. It has strong leadership, a talented team of people, and complements our own culture of versatility and flexibility. We have ambitious plans to diversify our business, to extend our turnkey engineering activities, and we see BWB playing an important role in delivering that strategy.”

The transaction will enable BWB to accelerate its plans to explore new opportunities driven by new markets, technological advances and major trends in society such as the drive for Smart Cities. It is also expected to play a key role in CAF’s ambitions to diversify and expand the group’s presence in English-speaking markets around the globe.

BWB Consulting was founded in Nottingham more than 25 years ago as a structural engineering business. It underwent a management buyout in 2008 and has grown into an integrated multi-disciplinary consultancy delivering advice and solutions nationally for private and public sector clients in property, the built and natural environment, and transport and infrastructure.

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