Another successful year for Clearwater International
Mid-market corporate finance advisory firm Clearwater International remains on course for success with over 110 completed deals in 2018. The increase in average transaction value by 45% underlines Clearwater International’s strategy to focus more on larger, cross-border transactions in all sectors and service lines, including M&A, Debt Advisory and Special Situations.
The keynote cross border deal of the year came in the Food and Beverage sector – when Clearwater advised Montagu Private Equity on its €625m sale of St Hubert to Fosun, Sanyuan Foods. Another notable deal came from a joint team from Denmark and Germany advising Danish industrial conglomerate Schouw & Co. on the acquisition of Switzerland-based EMS services provider CCS Group by its portfolio company GPV.
German deal highlights
The German Clearwater team, who relocated to Frankfurt’s Central Banking District in 2018, successfully completed 15 deals in the past year. Recent significant deals have included advising renowned brands such as: BENTELER GROUP on the cross-border sale of BENTELER Automotive Farsund to US-based Chassix; sports and leisure products manufacturer Kettler on its sale to private investment firm Lafayette Mittelstand Capital and leading specialised gas and energy service provider Energiehaus Deutschland on its sale to Wemag.
Increasing work with private equity
2018 saw Clearwater continue to increase its work with private equity (PE). The team advised on 70 deals involving over 40 different PE firms, some notable transactions included: the German team advising investment firm Triton Beratungsgesellschaft on the sale of Veltec Group, part of Leadec Group, to Plant Systems & Services PSS; ORLANDO Management on the sale of Beinbauer Group to H.I.G. Capital, leading independent investment company Finatem on the cross-border sale of Schollenberger Kampfmittelbergung to French SOCOTEC Group and KAP Beteiligungs-AG on the cross-border sale of Geiger Fertigungstechnologie to China-based Zhejiang Tieliu Clutch Co., Ltd.
Clearwater continued to release quarterly updates to its Multiples Heatmap research, in association with Unquote. This bespoke analysis of the multiples being paid by PE for businesses across Europe, has led to the Clearwater team increasingly supporting PE on their investment decisions; deployment of capital remains priority for PE in 2019, albeit in a less settled economic backdrop.
Debt advisory services continue to rise
For the fourth year running the business saw a rise in transactions involving debt advisory, with over a third of its deals being supported by the debt team. Notable transactions included: the German team advising Waterland Private Equity on the acquisition financing to support the merger of Within Reach Group, with Waterland’s recently acquired portfolio company Swyx Solutions (value €154.5m) and ante-Group, one of the leading family-owned wood industry companies in Europe, on the refinancing of their syndicated bank financing (value €66.5m).
Personnel growth and investment
With commitment to deliver the best solutions for clients Clearwater International continues to grow and invest in further developing the global team. The German team now counts more than 30 professionals out of a total of more than 220 employees at Clearwater International worldwide. In addition to numerous partner promotions at Clearwater worldwide, Benjamin Bubrowski was promoted to Managing Director, supporting the German management in the strategic business development.
All this progress did not go unnoticed with the team winning multiple awards including: the prestigious WirtschaftsWoche Best of Consulting award in Germany, Corporate Financier of the Year at the Unquote Private Equity awards, as well as Insider’s Deal of the Year and Team of the Year in multiple UK regions.
Tobias Schätzmüller, Managing Partner, Clearwater International, said: “2018 was an outstanding year for Clearwater in many areas. But more importantly it was also a great one for our clients. In an environment of uncertainty we prove again and again that we have the ability, and the commitment, to support our clients in realising their goals. The coming twelve months promise to be full of opportunities, and challenges, and we will continue to support our clients with integrated global teams to achieve their ambitions.”