On the acquisition trail

John Prowse of Green Compliance is confident about making further acquisitions this year.

John Prowse of Green Compliance is confident about making further acquisitions this year.

John Prowse is the chief executive of the energy services and consulting company, Green Compliance, which has made seven acquisitions so far this year and has more in the pipeline.

How did you get into the field?

I had been working at Connaught for two years as the managing director of its compliance business, which I was recruited to start as a second leg to their social housing business. The original intention was to remain focussed on blue-collar compliance (gas, electric, water, fire, pests and asbestos).

How did Green Compliance begin?

In 2009 I pitched to Bob Holt, the chairman of Mears Group and of Green CO2, to build a compliance business within the group. Bob didn’t want to do it within Mears, but he was interested in it as a part of Green CO2, a struggling company aimed at what was thought to be an emerging energy market. In December last year, Green CO2 was renamed Green Compliance.

Where did the funding come from?

In the original fundraising we got £10 million, which was something of a feat last December, and an additional £4 million from a smaller fundraising at the end of May. We’ve also used around £3 million cash from a £5 million revolving facility that we set up with HSBC. And then off we went of the acquisition trail.

Why did you choose this sector focus?

The areas I believed we should focus on were water hygiene, fire protection and pest control, because they offer the best margins in this marketplace. Tight legislation underpins all of them and that means that people have to do work in order to stay on the right side of the law. In the case of fire and pest control, there are a couple of market leaders who are in some difficulty.

What next?

Towards the end of the summer we’ll be looking for other smaller acquisitions. We’d like to stay focussed on these core areas, and I think we’ve got a good cross-selling opportunity as long as we keep the products quite tight.

We’re also looking to integrate the companies, build a better website, improve search engine optimisation and build a new centralised back-office.

Nick Britton

Nick Britton

Nick was the Managing Editor for growthbusiness.co.uk when it was owned by Vitesse Media, before moving on to become Head of Investment Group and Editor at What Investment and thence to Head of Intermediary...

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