20th September 2019

Newcastle-based chartered accountancy and business advisory firm UNW has recently supported NW Total Engineered Solutions throughout its sale to Carr’s Group plc, a global leader in the manufacturing of value-added products and solutions.

Based in Barrow-in-Furness, NW Total designs and manufactures bespoke process equipment packages and provides on-site technical support and installations for its customers. The organisation has an excellent reputation for providing industry leading engineering services within its chosen sectors, which include nuclear defence, nuclear power generation and decommissioning, utilities, pharmaceuticals, and energy. Within the nuclear sector, NW Total supplies some of the world’s largest companies.

Founded in 1994, NW Total has enjoyed substantial growth in recent years under former owners, Mark Gibson, director, and Ian Brown, managing director. Both will remain with the business after its recent acquisition by Carr’s Group plc to continue to drive further development. The sale to a global leader in the manufacturing of value-added products and solutions will also enable NW Total to gain access to a wider international network, alongside greater financial and technical resources.

NW Total first came into contact with UNW in 2016, after the management team recognised that it needed to either secure investment or be acquired by a larger entity. Mark Gibson comments: “We had reached a point that we were getting involved in some substantial projects; the sheer size of them made us think long and hard about the sustainability of the business.”

Paul Kaiser and Stephanie Davidson of UNW’s corporate finance team acted as a critical sounding board for NW Total. After the team carried out a strategic review of the options available, it became clear that the owners preferred a sale. At this point, UNW researched potential buyers in the marketplace, and it was identified that Carr’s Group was the best strategic fit for the business. During the transaction, UNW provided all round support, and were heavily involved in the due diligence.

“From our initial conversations, the team at UNW were very honest about the timescale behind a transaction like this,” Mark says. “It wasn’t something we had done before, but they supported us throughout and made us aware of what would be required. They brought a wealth of experience in this field and really took the time to thoroughly learn about our business, how we operated, and what it was we wanted to achieve. It developed into a great working relationship, and everyone’s point-of-view was always taken on board, which helped us to be able to make informed decisions. It became obvious quite early on that they were just as invested in securing the right deal for NW Total as we were.”

Reflecting on the transaction, Mark adds: “When we entered into this process, we were aware that timing is everything. We wanted to achieve a deal that accurately reflected the value of the business, and we have been able to do that. NW Total has continued to show significant growth, and the business was in an even stronger position this year than it had been in 2016, which was hugely advantageous when considering the timing of the transaction.

“We fully understood that we needed to consider the continuity of NW Total in its true form, and investment from a group that would let us retain the autonomy to continue managing it as we were would support that. It also gives our employees the benefits of knowing that we are going to provide high-quality services, with the financial backing and support that will allow us to expand even further.”

Stephanie Davidson, Corporate Finance Senior Manager at UNW, said: “We are thrilled to have worked closely with NW Total to help them secure a deal that is the right strategic fit for the company. This transaction is representative of the business’s ambition and drive, and the additional financial backing will provide the support necessary for continued growth in a marketplace with significant opportunities.”

NW Total’s sale to Carr’s Group has strengthened the business’s vision for the future. Mark said: “We now have the opportunity to take on even bigger projects, and we’ll also be looking to explore different markets. Being part of Carr’s also gives us access to an international network, with companies across Europe and America. We’re also looking forward to continuing our journey with UNW going forwards because of the wealth of knowledge at hand, and due to the strong relationship we have built with them.”

Paul Callaghan is co-founder and the Chair of The Leighton Group, the North East-based set of software, technology, communication and

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