Wireless Energy Management Systems International Limited (WEMS), a Stockport, UK-based provider of the world’s first fully wireless and web-enabled building energy management system, has sold a majority equity stake and raised growth capital in a £13m financing led by private equity fund manager WHEB Partners and including Hermes GPE through the Hermes GPE Environmental Innovation Fund.
The company’s pioneering wireless building management systems (BMS) technology brings down installation and monitoring costs for commercial energy management solutions. This allows retailers, telecoms companies and other companies with estates of small commercial buildings to achieve annual energy savings of 15-30% without requiring labour-intensive, wired retrofits – thereby achieving attractive financial paybacks on their purchase of WEMS’ solution. The system is designed to operate and control Heating, Ventilation and Air- Conditioning (HVAC), lighting and security systems across multiple locations. The company also offers an outsourced, contract-based energy management services from its Energy Centre in Stockport.
“The combination of our proven technology with the networks and expertise offered by WHEB make this an exciting growth inflection point for WEMS,” says Technical Director and co-founder Joe Blower. “We are experiencing strong demand here in the UK and there are clearly international opportunities too.”
Mr Blower founded the business with Steve Dillon, who is retiring following the investment from WHEB Partners. WEMS was founded in 1990 and posted a turnover of £12m in its last financial year. The company’s customers include British Telecom (BT), Boots, HMV, Matalan, Waterstones, Fitness First and Nationwide Building Society. BT was a key early customer for WEMS, with the company’s technology to be found in over 2,500 BT sites in the UK.
The technology is most effective in commercial premises which carry individual energy costs of £7,000-peryear and above. The SME and retail sector has historically been unable to justify adopting BMS solutions, particularly for retrofit applications, because of the long payback periods for existing, wired or partly wired BMS technologies. These have been limited to new build commercial premises or large scale retrofits – often financed by specialised investors – applicable to larger commercial properties.
“We are very pleased to have been chosen by WEMS as its equity partner,” says James McNaught-Davis, Managing Partner of WHEB Partners, who led the deal. “WEMS’ energy efficiency solution provides deep savings and improved management information while also being highly cost-effective and widely accessible. As such, this deal perfectly exemplifies the resource efficiency theme in which WHEB invests. More broadly, WEMS presents another shining example of the role that UK technology leaders can play in the green industrial revolution gathering momentum around the world.”
Advisers on the deal were Rickitt Mitchell (Corporate Finance for WEMS); Pannone (Legal for WEMS), SJ Berwin (Legal adviser to WHEB); CIL (Commercial Due Diligence); BDO (Financial Due Diligence); Coller IP (IP Due Diligence); Continuum (HR Due Diligence).
For more information, please see www.wems.co.uk.
About WHEB Partners
WHEB Partners invests in resource efficiency companies with high growth potential. A pioneer in resource efficiency private equity investing, WHEB Partners manages two private equity funds with total assets under management of £130 million from its offices in London and Munich. WHEB Partners is supported by the European Union through the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). More information on www.whebpartners.co
About WHEB Group
WHEB Group is a specialist sustainability investment management firm with €300 million of assets under management in funds covering the listed equity, private equity and infrastructure asset classes. WHEB Group focuses on investment opportunities created by the transition to more sustainable, resource efficient economies. More information on www.whebgroup.com.
This investment benefits from the European Union’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (the CIP).