Tait Walker completes Advanced engineering deal

Advanced Engineering Solutions Limited (‘AESL’) has been acquired by Hydrosave UK Limited (‘Hydrosave’), a subsidiary of South Staffordshire Plc, for an undisclosed sum.

AESL is based in Cramlington and employs 29 staff. It was formed in 1995 by former engineers at the British Gas Engineering Research Station. AESL provides high quality engineering services to utility pipeline operators.

Initial contracts involved technical consultancy, with later opportunities in pipeline inspection and condition assessment being developed. AESL primarily serves the water and gas markets, offering consulting expertise in mechanical, material, electronics and software engineering.

Three of the original founding directors remain with the company and Malcolm Wayman, John Carmichael and Dick Treece will continue to work with AESL under new ownership.

The deal allows South Staffordshire Plc, through its niche contracting division SSI Services (SSI), to enter into national gas contracting markets and will provide greater growth opportunities for AESL with water and gas industry customers across the UK.

Steve Plaskitt at Tait Walker Corporate Finance started working with the AESL directors five years ago and assisted them with a strategy review which led on to the company sale process. After being courted by local and international water utility companies, the AESL directors found the ideal fit with South Staffordshire Plc, which is based in Walsall.

SSI operates a number of specialist infrastructure service companies, including Hydrosave, which was established in 1994 as an operational consultant and specialist contractor within the water industry. Hydrosave’s services are supported by people who are renowned water industry experts in leak detection and the business has complementary technologies to those of AESL.

Commenting on the deal, Steve Plaskitt said “It was really enjoyable to find the right buyer for AESL after working closely with the shareholders for a number of years. Their experience, intellectual property and technologies are world class and are all built from the North East.”

AESL shareholder, Malcolm Wayman said “We have found the right buyer who shares both our vision for the water industry and understands the importance of technical expertise in the provision of consultancy and operational services to the gas industry. Our growth has been down to the hard work of all our staff over many years and it has been Steve Plaskitt’s drive that has helped to gather it all together and to complete the negotiations which will be for the long-term benefit of AESL, its staff and customers.”

Legal advice was provided by Martin Hulls from Ward Hadaway who added: “It’s fantastic to have helped the owners of AES to transfer the company to a new home for the next stage in its life. It has been a long road since we first started advising the shareholders and to see their journey to a successful realisation is really rewarding.”

Simon Dray, managing director of Hydrosave, said “We are delighted to have Malcolm, John and Dick on board and look forward to working closely with AESL within the gas market, which represents a new opportunity for us, and also to continue to work with their water customers, many of whom we know already. It was really helpful to work around the table with Steve Plaskitt and Martin Hulls who were able to ensure that the deal remained on track and completed as smoothly as possible.”