Horizon, the leading investor in UK B2B services and technology companies, is pleased to announce an investment in Churches Fire, the nationwide provider of fire safety compliance services based in Southampton, in an off-market deal valued at over £40 million.
The management team led by founder Paul Topley, will be re-investing alongside Horizon as the company invests for expansion.
Founded in 1992 and employing over 140 people, Churches Fire provides a full range of fire safety compliance services to over 8,000 commercial customers, from fire risk assessments and safety training to the service and maintenance of fire protection systems. Over the past three years, the firm has grown revenues at over 30% per annum and generates over £5 million EBITDA. Customers who Churches Fire is proud to serve include Audi, B&Q, Dairy Crest, Specsavers, Royal Mail and the Post Office.
Horizon’s investment will support continued growth through developing Churches Fire’s leading technology platform and expanding sales and marketing activities. In addition, Horizon has committed funding to accelerate Churches Fire’s buy and build strategy in the UK, increasing geographical coverage and adding new capabilities to its existing offering. Churches Fire operates in a highly-fragmented market which is valued at over £1.5 billion in the UK.
Horizon has a strong track record of investing in tech-enabled business services, recently supporting Bellrock in its acquisition of Profile Consultancy, its sixth add-on in less than twelve months and one of more than 110 completed by Horizon’s portfolio companies.
Adam Lewis, Partner at Horizon said:
“In Churches Fire we identified a business with an impressive tech-driven operating platform, a strong management team and huge potential for growth in a highly fragmented market. We are looking forward to working with Paul and his team during this exciting stage of growth for the business, and supporting the execution of an ambitious buy and build strategy.”
Paul Topley, Founder of Churches Fire said:
“I’m proud of what we have achieved over the last 25 years, and continue to see a fantastic future for the company. In an environment of increasing regulations and mandatory compliance activity there is a huge opportunity for us to build on our position as a leading national provider. With Horizon’s wealth of expertise and track record in backing the UK’s leading business services companies, we are on track to achieve this.”
HSBC provided debt for the transaction and further committed facilities for acquisitions, alongside Horizon.
Supporting Horizon and Churches Fire were:
Corporate Finance – N M Rothschild
Legal – Travers Smith
Financial Due Diligence – PwC
Commercial Due Diligence – Credo
Lenders – HSBC and Santander