Noonan Services sale attracts bid from South Africa’s Bidvest

US private equity firm HIG among bidders in deal worth up to €190m

The Noonan Services sale may be worth between €170 million and €190 million

The Noonan Services sale may be worth between €170 million and €190 million

 

Dublin-based Noonan Services has attracted bids from South African conglomerate Bidvest and private equity group HIG Capital as the facilities management and contract cleaning group’s owners of less than a decade eye a deal worth up to €190 million.

Sources said that Johannesburg-listed Bidvest and the European arm of US private equity giant HIG Capital are among three final bidders for Noonan, whose clients span from AIB to hospitals and sports stadiums.

The deal may be worth between €170 million and €190 million.

London-based private equity firm Alchemy, which acquired Noonan in 2008 for €90 million, hired US financial services firm Baird Capital last year to advise on a potential transaction.

There had been speculation in industry circles that Aramark, the US group which entered Ireland in 2004 with the purchase of Campbell Catering before buying Avoca Handweavers in 2015, was also involved in the process. However, sources said they are not among the final bidders.

Controlling stake

Spokesmen for Noonan, Alchemy and Bidvest declined to comment. Representatives for HIG Capital didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Alchemy acquired a controlling stake in Noonan from the company’s founder, Limerick native Noel Noonan and six other members of his family nine years ago.

Management in the business, including group chief executive, John O’Donoghue, Declan Doyle and Fintan Connolly, also own shares in the business. The group’s revenues have more than trebled since the 2008 deal, as the group expanded in Ireland and into the UK.

Bidvest employs more than 114,000 people across areas including financial services, car sales and freight management. It has a stated ambition of turning its facilities management unit into the largest such business in Africa.

HIG Capital, which has $21 billion of equity capital under management, got approval earlier this year from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission here to take over Lionbridge, a provider of translation services to technology and pharmaceutical companies, which employs hundreds of people in Ireland.

Expanded rapidly

Noonan, established 40 years ago and whose clients also include various hospitals universities and police services in Northern Ireland and England, now has more than 15,000 staff, having expanded rapidly in recent times through acquisitions and contract wins.

The company had an annual turnover of more than €100 million at the time of its takeover nine years ago. Its latest annual report shows that revenues surged almost 50 per cent in 2015 to €303.9 million, boosted by new contracts and a series of acquisitions.

In 2014, Noonan services acquired Resource Group, a Northern Irish company employing over 6,000 people across the UK that was in administration at the time. In the past two years it has acquired the security business of Brinks in Ireland and the business and assets of UK security firm Shield Guarding.