OCU Group swoops for its fifth acquisition in around 12 months

John Cahill (left) and Vince Bowler

OCU Group, the Stockport-based parent company of O’Connor Utilities and Instalcom, has acquired Modus Utilities for an undisclosed sum.

London-based Modus is a multi-utility specialist that provides services across the UK energy sector and is focused on building complex power networks and substations, including large-scale solar farms and battery storage facilities.

It also offers clients design, build services on projects ranging from low voltage to high voltage 132kV electrical infrastructure, pressure gas infrastructure and all related plant and civil construction.

In addition, Modus offers to its electrical clients, maintenance, and emergency response services via COMER agreements.

Clients of Modus range from distribution network operators and independent distribution network operators, including UK Power Networks, Leep Utility and Optimal Power Networks, to major developers such as British Land and Landsec and energy provider Ampyr Energy.

The acquisition will support OCU’s ability to build and connect large scale private wire grid connections, install entire networks, and explore new energy-related opportunities, a priority for the group throughout 2023 and beyond.

Michael Hughes, OCU chief executive, said: “If the UK is to reach Net Zero by 2050, we’ll need a mix of renewable power to get there. We know there is a pressing need to make alternative energy sources more accessible for people across the country and working with firms like Modus will be part of the solution.

“The deal will also help us provide the infrastructure to help homes and businesses benefit from green energy sources. We look forward to working with Modus and adding to our portfolio as we increase our work across the renewables sector.”

John Cahill, Modus managing director, said: “The Government’s recent change in stance on VAT for battery storage is a clear indicator that demand is growing for alternative energy sources for both home and business owners.

“We’re delighted to become part of OCU Group who share our commitment to support the UK’s energy transition and look forward to capitalising on new opportunities together.”

Vince Bowler, OCU Services managing director, said: “Modus brings a wealth of expertise and experience to OCU. Modus use an in-house team of skilled electrical and civil engineers to design, install, and commission projects which is the perfect addition to our team.”

The deal with Modus marks the fifth acquisition in just over 12 months for OCU. It follows the acquisition of InICT, a Leeds-based fibre-optic specialist, Opals, a regional multi utilities hub, Andrews Associates, a Surrey-based power systems design and engineering service, and FKS, a Wigan-based telecom installation service.

OCU also reported a rise in revenue by 34% year-on-year to £295.2m for the year ended April 30, 2022, compared with £219.7m in 2021: £219.7m, and expects revenues in its current financial year to April 2023 to substantially outperform financial year 2022.

The record results come as OCU announced a refocusing of its business to reflect its specialisms and the changing nature of the UK infrastructure market.

It has established two new divisions – OCU Utility Services and OCU Services to align the group with future growth priorities. This replaces the previous O’Connor Utilities and Instalcom brands.

As part of the acquisition arrangements, Modus Utilities will become known as OCU Modus Limited.