Acquisitive Wirral group awarded £1bn in available debt facilities

Dr Alan Ryder

New York-listed Ares Management Corporation is behind £1b-worth of funds extended to RSK Group, the highly acquisitive Wirral-based integrated environmental, engineering and technical services consultancy.

Ares confirmed that funds managed by its European Direct Lending strategy are serving as the sole lenders of £1bn of available debt facilities to RSK.

This transaction marks the largest private credit-backed sustainability linked financing to date and will be used to refinance Helsby-based RSK’s existing credit facilities as well as support its continued organic and inorganic growth plans.

The new debt facilities include an annual margin review based on the achievement of sustainability targets, which are broadly focused on carbon intensity reduction and continual improvement to health and safety management and ethics.

These targets are aligned to RSK’s corporate responsibility and sustainability route map, which forms the basis of its sustainability strategy, based on its sustainability pillars and the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

RSK anticipates interest savings in excess of £500,000 per year and has committed to donate a minimum of 50% of this margin benefit toward sustainability-related initiatives or charitable causes.

Founded in 1989, RSK comprises more than 100 businesses and employs in excess of 6,000 specialists.

The group, led by founder and chief executive, Alan Ryder, has an established presence in more than 40 countries around the world.

RSK supports its global client base across diversified sectors, from energy to water, to conduct business in a sustainable, safe and environmentally responsible manner through comprehensive, solutions-led services.

Michael Dennis, co-head of the Ares European Direct Lending strategy and partner in the Ares Credit Group, said: “We are excited to continue to grow our longstanding relationship with RSK through this significant financing that is a first for both of our businesses and further connects us to a shared sustainability commitment.

“We have enjoyed the opportunity to be a financing provider to Alan and his team for nearly three years as they have executed on an impressive strategy to scale RSK’s capabilities and its mission of expanding ESG into its clients’ business model and practices.

“We are confident that the positive tailwinds for ESG across the spectrum of businesses and sectors will continue to drive demand for RSK’s service offering, and we are proud to support the company on this journey.”

Alan Ryder said: “There are very few firms like Ares that possess the scale, flexibility and sharp focus on ESG to provide a sustainability-linked financing of this kind.

“This financing demonstrates our deep commitment to driving sustainable business practices, not just within our clients’ businesses, but also within our own.

“We look forward to continuing the great relationship we have with the Ares team while responsibly expanding our services and geographic footprint as we strive to bring the most comprehensive range of sustainable solutions to our clients.”

Ares Management Corporation is a global alternative investment manager offering clients complementary primary and secondary investment solutions across the credit, private equity, real estate and infrastructure asset classes.

As of June 30, 2021, Ares Management Corporation’s global platform had approximately $262bn of assets under management, with approximately 2,000 staff operating across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.