H2 made a very strong initial impression in our fire chat meetings, became quickly up to speed on our sector and moved towards the top contender on our list. They were pragmatic, no nonsense, hands on and not over-relying on external DD providers. The H2 team believed in our business case and leadership team and where able to move quickly in the process accommodating the expectations of our Shareholder. We were able to work closely together during the closing process, validating our strategy and prioritize the key strategic value drivers for the coming years. I am happy to say that this approach enabled the business to maintain focused and report excellent results post close. We look forward to provide great patient care and shareholder value in the future.
From our initial meeting where we agreed on the H2 investment in HC21 on a handshake, our experience has been a fully open partnership in which we always reached unanimous consensus on the right next steps for the business.
H2’s Interaction with us was always positive and encouraging and their experience and expertise was always beneficial to our business. Together we crafted and successfully implemented an ambitious growth plan and H2’s guidance in our sale process ensured a best possible exit for the shareholders and a best possible solution for the business.
Healthcare 21 demonstrates how partnering with a supportive and involved PE investor can help achieve strategic goals. Healthcare 21’s management team and H2 were able to jointly develop a clear and winning long term strategy that was rapidly executed throughout the business.
The Amberon Group is a market leading traffic management provider to the utilities and Local Authority markets. Amberon was established in May 2002 with our first depot in Paignton, South West England. Our founding core principles remain at the heart of everything that we do and our continued desire to achieve our purpose; to provide the best service in the Traffic Management sector. This has been the foundation for our success and has cemented our position as the market leader in TM.
During the initial transaction we never felt under any pressure & instantly recognised we would become part of the family. H2 took the time to listen to our views & business strategy, it was obvious from the very beginning that they would be the perfect partner for us.
The guys at H2 have enabled us to continue the momentum & have provided the expertise & knowledge to help us continue on the journey to constantly improve our service offering.
Working with H2 during the last 2 years has given us additional support not just financially but the advice & expertise has helped analytically & strategically.
The ambition and the drive H2 have is extremely infectious & continues to assist the group to overachieve.
It’s enormously reassuring to know H2 will always be at the end of the phone to offer advice but heartening to know they have the trust in us to deliver.
The culture at Cadogan Tate has always been defined by an appreciation for supreme quality and a deep understanding of how to handle, store and ship valuable artifacts. H2 have demonstrated in our relationship a commitment to quality and service excellence alongside a focus on strategic issues and the positive development of both the organisation and the people within the business.
As CEO my focus has always been on value creation and H2 have helped us develop a clear path for accelerated and sustainable growth with an underlying improvement in the economic value of our business.
H2 has a great ethos as an investor, they offer a true partnership with the right challenge, the right support, and the right sense of urgency to make a difference. Their hands-on experience in growing operational businesses has allowed them to adapt their thinking to the specific needs of our global operations. Where the levels of maturity in a market differ, the solutions differ and their input into the strategic and operational thinking across the United States, France and the UK has allowed us to maintain growth in all of the countries within which we operate.
We love their impatience with the status quo and the obsessive desire they have as a team to find improvements in the way we operate. The beauty of their input is that they understand that solutions need to be practical, executable, and sustainable in order to achieve the desired results and value creation.
H2 respect and appreciate the commercial, operating and industry expertise from within the business whilst bringing a blend of strategic and operational expertise to the table and playing a vital role in challenging myself and the management team to over deliver on commitments and expectations.
From day one we knew we had found the right partner in H2, they quickly understood our business and the potential to develop it from a 50 year old family business to a more professional business by reviewing processes, margins, organic growth opportunities, organisation structure and acquisitions – all of which were actioned during our 4 years together.
Their help in providing an outsiders’ view of the business and where it should be going were really beneficial to the management team as it brought a new perspective to the team and the business.
A strategy was agreed at the outset which included all of the above plus succession planning resulting in the search for a new CEO and a candidate being recruited 2 years prior to exit, leading to a smooth transition and allowing myself to exit on completion.
The H2 team were very hands on when needed but also excellent at leaving the management team to perform their roles.
Whenever asked about H2’s involvement I always state that if selling to PE we were extremely lucky to have found such a great team as H2.
As CEO of a private equity backed business, it is important to have an investor who will support the strategic direction of the business, invest for growth, bring experience and insight to both operations and the market and be supportive through the inevitable ups and downs of business. Throughout their ownership of NRS, H2 have supported investment in facilities, agreeing the development of a new warehouse; in infrastructure, backing the implementation of new routing and scheduling software; and in people, facilitating the growth in our clinical and digital teams. They have brought a good balance of scrutiny and support and individuals within H2 have worked closely with the operational team to help deliver improvements and growth. They have also provided a good sounding board for new ideas for developing the business.
At exit, H2 worked closely with the management shareholders to deliver the best outcome for all parties. They have been receptive to management concerns and given due weight to managements views in terms of advisors and ultimate buyer. H2 have been a great investor with which to work.
Having started working with H2 in December 2014, we immediately appreciated the benefit of their experience. They were able to execute the initial deal quickly and efficiently, calling on their own internal expertise to minimise distraction for the management team. H2 take a keen and ongoing interest in our business, and have always been a supportive and progressive investment partner. Their backing has enabled us to invest heavily, particularly in our operational capacity and capability, allowing us to scale the products and services that we previously provided and broaden our offerings into new growth areas. They also provided valuable support with the acquisition of a complementary business which has significantly increased our scale in the digital markets in which we operate.
Inevitably, there is a fine line between involvement and interference, and between encouragement and pressure, and we have always found H2 to be involved and encouraging in the right way presenting us with just the right amount of challenge. They quickly developed a genuine understanding of our business, actively participating in both our strategic and operational decision making and adding real value. Having worked in various roles with several Private Equity Houses, H2 are a valued partner and have brought significantly more than just capital to our business.
Of the final 5 potential purchasers for GBUK, H2 gave the most professional presentation, matching their philosophy with that of my own company. They assured us of their professional integrity and made promises about both the transaction and the future running of the company. I’m delighted to say they have kept to their promises and I made the right decision in selling to them.
Let me address the acquisition process first:
What impressed us the most, and I think made the decision to go with H2, was the attitude and aptitude of the H2 team on the initial DD process. Their team were granted access to the Management team and spent a day working with our Team on the business – covering goals, aspirations, weaknesses and threats. You listened and were able to offer sound advice based on the experience within your team. You will notice the use of the word ‘team’ quite a few times above and this is what I believe made the difference. It was clear [and remains true] that H2 work as a team pooling the strengths of the individuals to best help the acquired company. You also realise and have worked to help our team grow their skills and this has resulted in the stirling achievements of the business.
Working with H2:
The key element after almost 3 years – is there is clearly not an us and them attitude. Nothing is too much trouble and the H2 and GBUK team work on solving problems and opportunities together. We hear horror stories from other businesses that have been owned by other PE companies and the focus on number, numbers and more numbers. We [GBUK and H2] have proven that working together on the process and improvement of each element of the business will achieve the desired results. Yes of course H2 challenge management – but without this pushing and subsequent help we would not be growing at the rate we are.
H2 took ownership of our organisation in 2014, which is in a niche market that had strong market potential over a short period of time. Our team is small and the opportunities that were available to us required quick decision making and confidence from our shareholders. To ensure that this was aligned, the team at H2 worked extremely closely with the whole management team to understand the way the business operated in the market, as well as providing key strategic support to ensure that the decision-making process was clear and well understood.
It was a really good fit for our business. We were supported, challenged and also given the bandwidth to operate as we have always done; knowing that we had support as well as guidance from our shareholders who shared our belief in the business as well as the people who managed it.
The H2 Experience
Eurocell was part of a Belgium corporate which changed its strategy and we were considered non-core and put up for sale.
After a period of marketing the business to competitors, it was clear that potential trade purchasers had neither the critical mass, experience or funding for such an acquisition. After an extended sales process with one competitor, H2 came on the scene. This was clearly a concern for the management team as private equity had a somewhat difficult reputation of cost savings, financial engineering and short-term measures with limited investment.
However after the first one-to-one meeting with H2, many of these fears were diluted and it was clear their model was very different. Their interest was based on the people, culture, reputation, key motivators and long-term strategy and what actually made Eurocell tick and what was at the heart of the company’s success.
The acquisition process was slick, not too granular and very inclusive, despite some frustrations with the Belgium head office. As a management team it was clear we would be the drivers of the “new” business after agreeing the ambitious five year plan – which was really our plan on steroids!
Whist H2 expected us to deliver what was agreed, they were along-side us in our daily successes, difficulties, issues and most importantly supporting our people and major capital investments. It was never a them and us atmosphere.
Expect tough targets to be agreed, but never without back up to support. Our numbers outstripped expectations for two years and earlier than expected, H2 approached us with a proposal to float, listened to our views and we agreed this together.
The process was extremely intense, but the business was in excellent shape, had a good team and a proven strategy. This required lots of time to be spent on non-operational issues, however we had the best team available from both sides and the floatation onto the Main Market was a great success.
H2 are without question one of the most inclusive, encouraging and exciting teams to be involved with, but expect to get caught up in the excitement and to have to deal with the work load!