Deal volume increases by 21% at corporate finance advisory business

Michael Reeves

Mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International completed 129 deals in the past financial year, with average deal values increasing by 31%, placing it in seventh place in the Pan-European financial advisors league tables.

Clearwater, which has a key Manchester operation, achieved revenues of more than €74m in the year, representing a nine per cent growth on last year.

It saw a strong performance across all sectors and service lines contributing to the sustained performance of the business.

For the sixth year running, the European debt advisory team experienced strong growth, with more than 40 mandates completed across the various territories, representing debt raised in excess of €6.9bn.

This increase saw Clearwater expand its bespoke debt team with two new recruits and three senior promotions during the year.

Among key deals, the UK team co-advised Daisy Group on the second phase of its recent refinancing with Ares of more than €1bn of debt facilities, one of the largest private credit financings in Europe.

Clearwater’s deep heritage in private equity continues to grow, with PE involved in 45% of deals during the year, solidifying Clearwater’s second place on the PE advisory Europe exits league table.

Some notable transactions included the UK team advising on the management buyout of the corporate clothing division of US-based Tailored Brands, in a deal which values the group at €56m.

The industrials and chemicals and business services teams were the most active with deal completions, closely followed by the healthcare and real estate teams.

The industrials and chemicals sector team experienced an exceptional year with average deal values finishing at four times the value of 2019.

A key deal included the UK team advising on the management buyout of SRL Traffic Systems supported by LDC and Crescent Capital.

Likewise, the business services sector team experienced an active deal calendar which included the UK team advising MML Capital and the shareholders of Learning Curve Group, an education and training specialist, on its sale to private equity firm Agilitas.

The real estate team across Europe has expanded, doubling the number of deals compared with the previous year and increasing the average deal value by 40%.

Clearwater has recently bolstered the team with the appointment of Joe Dyke to partner and head of real estate finance in the UK.

It continued its growth in Europe with the integration of Milan-based Brera Financial Advisory in September 2019.

The team in Milan completed almost double the number of deals in comparison with the previous 12 months, key deals included advising Italmobiliare Investment Holding on its investment in Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, a premium perfume and cosmetics company.

Clearwater’s success was reflected in its recruitment activity and talent development across Europe and China, which saw 25% of the team promoted during 2019.

The business also recruited partner Richard Goldsack to head up the new Leeds office in the UK, which opened in January 2020.

Clearwater is committed to increasing diversity across the workforce and this year made headway with 30% of junior hires being female.

Chief executive Michael Reeves said: “The success we have achieved over the past year would not have been possible without the trust our clients put in us to deliver on their ambitious goals, the energy and dedication of our team and the support of our professional contacts.

“The period that the world has entered into as a result of the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented and, unsurprisingly, has affected our stakeholders and our business.

“However, it has also shown the resilience of our business; I am immensely proud of the adaptable nature of our team who have shown dedication and commitment to both the business and our clients in light of unparalleled challenges.”

He added: “Clearwater International continues to maintain its strong market position through our geographic and sector diversification. Our financial track record and results support a healthy balance sheet and strong cash position.

“While the uncertainty will undoubtedly have some impact on our business, I am confident that our continued origination approach to the market, will ensure Clearwater remains well-positioned through this period and beyond.”