05/09/2012

Finance Wales sells its stake in Unite Technologies

Finance Wales has sold its investment in Unite Technologies Ltd (Unite) achieving a 2.4X return on its total investment in the Usk-based company.


The deal sees Unite become a division of US-based acquirers, Panduit Corporation (Panduit).  Unite’s energy management and monitoring systems complement Panduit’s existing offering. “Panduit’s acquisition is a very positive move for Unite which will open up a whole host of new opportunities.  Finance Wales’ backing enabled us to build a company recognised for its technologically-advanced solutions as well as its future potential,” explained Unite’s former Chief Executive, Simon Terry.

A long-term backer, Finance Wales invested three rounds in Unite, with its most recent a £700,000 equity and debt round in 2010.  This underpinned Unite’s transformation from a product supplier to a high-value solutions provider and saw it grow into a £7-million company with a list of blue-chip clients in the financial, telecoms, broadcast and retail sectors.

“Our relationship with Finance Wales was an important factor in our success because they believed in what we were trying to achieve and backed us with the investment we needed.  We were also able to take advantage of their valuable experience and expertise of investing in high-growth SMEs like Unite,” Terry continued.

Finance Wales worked with Unite on its strategic development helping to build a well-structured, world-class business.  This included strengthening its management team; overseeing an acquisition as well as practical assistance in introducing new bankers willing to support its ambitious expansion plans. Finance Wales Portfolio Executive, James Henderson developed a long-term relationship with Unite’s management team.  Henderson said: “Reducing energy consumption is a global issue, so we knew Unite had real growth potential with its cutting-edge energy management systems and track record for innovation.  We were pleased to invest over a number of funding rounds. The Unite team adapted quickly to changing market conditions, spotting profitable opportunities and capitalising on them. This agility, coupled with Finance Wales’ funding and support, helped them build a strong brand and industry-leading technology.”

Commenting on the Panduit’s decision to acquire Unite, Panduit’s President, Tom Donovan said: "Unite Technologies brings innovative technology and a highly skilled team to Panduit. Unite has a proven track record of success in helping forward thinking customers measure and monitor energy usage, enabling energy management capabilities that address high priority business and operational objectives.” The Unite exit is Finance Wales’ largest equity realisation to date. 

Portfolio Director, Bill Anthony explained its significance for Finance Wales: “Finance Wales has an excellent track record of investing in Welsh SMEs and Unite’s success is a clear demonstration of the difference our backing can make.  We’re looking forward to reporting more successful exits from our portfolio in the coming months.  Profitable investment returns underpin our future sustainability enabling us to help create more world-beaters like Unite.” Unite resulted from the 2007 merger of Comrac Ltd and Sinetica Corporation.

Advisers on the deal were PwC (corporate finance); Berry Smith (legal for Unite) and Eversheds (legal for Finance Wales).