Maiden acquisition for private equity-backed protection firm

Birmingham-based private equity-backed property, site and people protection specialist Orbis Protect has made its first acquisition.

The deal will see Orbis Protect acquire Glasgow-based Optosafe, a rapidly deployed 360-degree CCTV tower provider with which it has partnered for three years.

The business employs more than 400 staff across 19 UK depots, working with clients across the private and public sectors. Its services include vacant property management – deep-cleaning, repairing and securing vacant properties ready for re-occupation, as well as site security for commercial offices, construction and other vulnerable sites through its monitoring services. It also offers a lone worker monitoring solution, supporting 35,000 workers annually with personalised alarm services.

The deal follows NorthEdge’s initial backing in 2018 and two years of strong organic growth for Orbis Protect, which has achieved consistent year-on-year organic EBITDA growth in excess of 20% since 2016. Earlier this year the business ranked 8th in the Sunday Times’ Profit Track and following the acquisition it is expecting to achieve in excess of £8m EBITDA in the next financial year.

During lockdown Orbis Protect has seen rapid grown of its decontamination services. In March it had six team members trained to deliver the environmentally friendly specialist cleaning service, which includes fogging technology to remove traces of COVID-19, with a further 60 being trained throughout lockdown to meet customer demand.

Guy Other, Orbis Protect chief executive, said: “During lockdown we have been able to adapt quickly to support clients. This approach to spotting new opportunities for our business has been key to us continuing to report strong organic growth. NorthEdge has been supportive of our ambitions since backing the business, and their support with our first acquisition has been invaluable.

“Over the last few years we have developed a strong partnership with Optosafe on a range of client projects, the specialist insight the team can provide makes this deal a key part of our ongoing strategy and will help us to further accelerate our growth.”

Current Optosafe CTO John Robertson has joined Orbis as managing director of the Optosafe division and will continue to focus on delivering industry leading customer solutions and driving new product development opportunities.

Robertson said: “We know our markets well and are aware of the high demand for Optosafe’s services. It makes monitoring and security for areas like construction, infrastructure and utilities safer and more reliable than traditional security systems, which is key for clients who own and operate these assets. Working with Orbis Protect will allow us to accelerate our ongoing R&D work to develop new services for our customers.”

The acquisition was funded in part by financing provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank. Orbis were supported on the acquisition by Deloitte (corporate finance), Browne Jacobson (legal), BDO (financial due diligence), Fairgrove Partners (commercial due diligence) and Better Basics (operational due diligence).

Kevin O’Loughlin, investment director at NorthEdge Capital, said: “Orbis Protect has performed exceptionally well in the harshest of trading environments presented by COVID-19. The acquisition of Optosafe provides Orbis Protect with additional penetration into the high growth CCTV towers market and underpins the exciting growth strategy which management have for the business.”

Darren Boocock, partner, corporate finance at Deloitte, said: “The transaction is a fantastic outcome for all concerned. Deloitte has supported Orbis for some time – having advised NorthEdge on their acquisition of the business in 2018 – and continues to support them through assessing the strategic options for the business. The acquisition of Optosafe serves to provide Orbis with access to an innovative technology platform that will be important in servicing the needs of its customers in an evolving security market, and shows continued appetite to transact through what has been a challenging period for the market”

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