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Flint Bishop Corporate Finance and Smith Cooper Corporate Finance recently acted on a deal that sees Loughborough headquartered Pendragon Holdings, which trades as CR Civil Engineering Limited (CRC), sold to the UK’s leading environmental, engineering and technical services provider, RSK Group Limited (RSK).

The business of CRC was formed in 2000 by Carl and Mandy Roberts and has since grown to become one of the region’s largest and most highly respected civil engineering groups, serving a range of blue-chip clients ranging from Tier 1 Contractors, to the MOD and Network Rail. Today CRC has a turnover approaching £40 million, employs 250 direct staff and 70 freelance contractors, operates from four locations in England and Wales, and owns a wide range of heavy plant.

CRC is a highly quality, customer and employee-centric group, having its own CITB and NPORS approved training centre, and consequently has developed a very strong reputation for professionalism, reliability and excellence – winning many industry awards and gaining Considerate Contractor accreditation.

CRC’s work is UK-wide, its main focus being in Highways groundworks, including Smart Motorway projects such as the M27, Highway Junctions such as J23 of the M1, motorway widening such as the M4, Highways Infrastructure work and Local Authority footpaths and cycleways.

It also carries out Rail contracts (platforms, embankment stabilisation, groundworks for electrification such as the London to Corby line, bridge modification, drainage, trough laying and car parks), Airfield works (AGL lighting infrastructure, taxiways, drainage, perimeter roads and car parks), and general Commercial works, road planning for Local Authorities, and sundry groundworks.

RSK is a leading integrated environmental, engineering and technical services provider, comprising over 100 companies in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Established in 1989, it has grown organically and by successive acquisitions, providing wide-ranging consultancy and technical services to the energy, water, property, manufacturing, government and transport sectors.

Several years ago, trusted incumbent solicitor Martyn Brierley of Flint Bishop, advised the sellers to take corporate finance advice on preparing for a sale. This ultimately led to John Farnsworth and David Crump of Smith Cooper Corporate Finance (SCCF) winning the assignment to provide pre-sale strategic advice on preparing the business for sale, identify buyers and to project-manage the deal from inception to completion.

Corporate legal advice on the deal was provided to the sellers by Partner and Head of Corporate & Finance Martyn Brierley and Senior Associate Will Bowler, whilst Andrew Stokes provided property advice. Andrew Botham and Michelle Henley-Marshall of Botham Accounting, CRC’s auditors, provided taxation advice to the principal shareholders.

Seller and managing Director, Carl Roberts, who will continue to lead the business within RSK’s contracting division said, “the SCCF team were fastidious in making sure the business was ready for sale, identified an ideal partner in RSK, and provided expert guidance and advice throughout. Equally, the Flint Bishop team provided tireless legal advice every step of the way”. He continued “CRC’s and RSK’s company cultures are very aligned and being part of RSK will not only strengthen CRC but also offer further opportunities for the business to develop and allow our dedicated staff to reach their full potential within a growing organisation”.

RSK Chief Executive Officer and founder Alan Ryder added, “Work on large infrastructure projects is a particularly buoyant market and CRC has an excellent reputation in the industry. The addition of CRC will enable RSK to provide further comprehensive end-to-end solutions to our clients in the highways, rail, and infrastructure sectors. We anticipate that CRC will also have many synergies with business across the RSK group in associated work areas such as traffic management, earthworks, insitu testing and slope stabilisation work, which we are excited to explore.”

Martyn Brierley commented, “Having first met Carl in 2015, I’ve been in the privileged position to advise Carl and the CRC group over the last 6 years, and to see the business grow. Carl, with the support of his team, has built a resolute business founded on integrity, respect and loyalty to its staff, contractors and clients. We’re absolutely delighted to have advised Carl and Mandy on this disposal, and are confident that the acquisition will result in the ongoing significant growth for both CRC and the RSK Group”.

John Farnsworth, Corporate Finance Partner at SCCF, speaking about the deal commented, “Given Carl’s strong sense of pride in the CRC brand and his equally robust loyalty to his staff, I am genuinely delighted that we identified RSK as the buyer – the fit of ethos and professionalism could hardly have been bettered, thus setting the business up for smooth integration and continued growth; an exciting future”.

David Crump, Corporate Finance Director at SCCF added, “This is a great deal for all of CRC’s shareholders and for RSK; the addition of CRC will enable RSK to widen its contracting capabilities, bringing civil engineering expertise, a significant property and plant portfolio, and a strong existing customer base. It’s been a privilege to work with Carl and his team, and very rewarding to complete this transaction”.

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