16.09.2013

Harsco exits scaffold business

Harsco has agreed the sale of its Infrastructure division to a new business that will combine it with Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services. Harsco Infrastructure was created by Harsco from the merger of SGB, Hünnebeck and Patent Scaffold.

The new merged business is being put together by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which is acquiring Brand from its current private equity owner First Reserve. The combined business will trade under the Brand Energy & Infrastructure name.

Harsco will receive $300 million in cash and a 29 percent stake in the new venture which will have revenues in the region of around $3 billion. Around two thirds of that will come from the energy sector.

Brand’s current chief executive Paul Wood, will lead the combined company, and headquarters will remain at its current base in Atlanta, Georgia. The board of directors will include representatives from CD&R, Brand and Harsco.

Wood said: “The integration with Harsco Infrastructure directly aligns with our company's strategy to expand our specialty service offering. The combination of these two groups of strong local operating companies and management teams creates a true global leader in both specialised industrial services and forming & shoring. The resulting global footprint will enable us to offer best in class operating capabilities to our customers in the growing energy and infrastructure markets.”

“We are excited to help build a global leader in both specialised industrial services and infrastructure services,” added Nathan Sleeper, a CD&R Partner. “We believe that the combined company has a well-positioned global platform, very favourable growth prospects and a deep set of capabilities to serve customers across its diverse end markets.”

Harsco chief executive Patrick Decker said: “This transaction is the first major step in the strategic transformation of Harsco. It follows a period of extensive consideration and offers a number of compelling benefits to our shareholders. First, it immediately strengthens the financial profile of the Company while providing the financial flexibility to pursue higher return, higher growth opportunities. Second, it reduces the complexity of our business, consistent with our objectives for internal simplification and greater operating efficiency. Third, by maintaining an equity position in a stronger and more profitable combined business, Harsco stands to benefit from the additional value that will be created by the new venture.”

The transaction is expected to close before the end of this year, subject to regulatory approvals, as well as satisfactory conclusion of the relevant works council/trade union consultation procedures.

Vertikal Comment

This is a sensible move for Harsco in that it has not been happy with the scaffold, formwork and powered access business since it started to merge its three main scaffold companies – SGB, Hünnebeck and Patent under the Harsco Infrastructure banner in 2009.

Brand Energy, offers a wide range of services, including scaffolding and should be a good fit with Harsco Infrastructure. It is currently owned by private equity firm First Reserve which acquired it in 2007. Under its ownership Brand has done well and continued to grow and expand, which has not always been the case with Harsco’s infrastructure operations.

It will be interesting now to see how Brand will organise and integrate the Harsco operations and what name it will trade under in markets where Brand is unknown.

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