BGF completes successful exit of Hydrock to Stantec

Following a successful six-year partnership, we have exited our investment in the multi-award-winning consultancy business, delivering a 6x MM return.

2 May 2024

BGF has announced the successful exit of Hydrock, a multi-award-winning engineering design, energy and sustainability consultancy. Hydrock has been acquired by Stantec, a global leader in sustainable design and engineering, listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. The transaction coincides with the retirement of Hydrock’s Founder and CEO of 29 years, Brian McConnell.

Headquartered in Bristol, Hydrock has over 950 employees, across 22 offices in the UK. It has a large and diverse client base, across a wide range of sectors, including education, energy, healthcare, industry, defence, leisure, retail, hospitality, and residential.

Since our original investment in March 2018, BGF has provided £5.6 million to support Hydrock’s organic growth plans, as well as helping to fund the acquisition of seven complementary consultancy businesses.

During the time of BGF’s investment, Hydrock has significantly scaled its operations, expanded into new geographies and service lines, and focused on larger projects in high-growth sectors. As a result, Hydrock has seen revenue increase from £30 million to £84 million. The investment has delivered a 6x money multiple (MM) return and a 40% IRR for BGF.

Hydrock, who is regularly listed in the 100 Best Large Companies to Work For survey, and was recently crowned Engineering Consultant of the Year at the Building awards, has a well-established reputation for developing sustainable solutions for major infrastructure projects and landmark buildings across the UK. It combines supporting the energy transition and decarbonisation across UK infrastructure with operational delivery capabilities across the whole infrastructure lifecycle.

Dr Brian McConnell, retiring CEO and Founder of Hydrock, said: “BGF has been an excellent partner and its investment in the business has played a critical role in our growth story. Over the course of the investment partnership, Hydrock has expanded its services and reach, which has been supported through a programme of strategic acquisitions. I’m proud of the progress we have made in the last six years – all while keeping our distinctive culture very much alive.”

The BGF investment team consisted of Paul Oldham, Alex Garfitt and James Skade.

Paul Oldham, Investor at BGF, said: “We are delighted to have supported the excellent Hydrock team through a highly successful, six-year period of growth. Hydrock is a leading light in the field of sustainable engineering design. With a fantastic internal culture, it has always demonstrated a strong alignment with BGF’s principles of uniting purpose and profit. It has been a privilege to be part of Hydrock’s fantastic growth journey, and we wish the entire team all the best for their next exciting chapter.”

Leading Hydrock through the integration journey with Stantec will be Dr Scott Elliott, in the role of Managing Director.


Advisors on the transaction

For BGF and the Hydrock shareholders

  • CF advice: KPMG CF (Khush Purewal, Callum Shields, Harry Stephenson)
  • Legal advice: Freeths (Mohammed Abbas, Charlotte Collard)

For Stantec

  • Legal advice: DLA Piper
  • Financial diligence: Stantec
  • Tax diligence: EY

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