Dunedin, the UK mid-market buyout house has taken a significant minority stake in Blackrock Programme Management (‘Blackrock PM’), a professional services firm that provides independent expert witness and construction consulting services for large, international construction projects. The London based company has increased turnover tenfold from £1 million to £10 million between 2010 and 2014, and is expecting further significant growth in 2015.
Blackrock PM has a strong pipeline of high profile contracts and is currently advising on over $4 billion of construction disputes. The company has advised on many high profile projects in London and globally including The Shard, Blackfriar’s Bridge, Heathrow Airport and the East London Line.
Dunedin’s investment will support an active expansion strategy, through ongoing organic growth as well as selective acquisitions. Blackrock PM intends to expand its international focus and, following this investment, is planning to open new offices in Dubai, Singapore and other international arbitration centres. Dunedin will also offer the business access to its network of operating partners and industry contacts with a view to recruiting new executive talent, including an experienced Non-Executive Chairman and Finance Director.
Headquartered in London, Blackrock PM was founded by experienced programme and construction manager David Barry (Principal) and employs c.50 people. The business is widely recognised as a market leader employing individual directors who are experts in their field. Blackrock PM has worked on an extensive range of projects around the globe, including airports, roads, railways, power stations, process plants, manufacturing facilities, health and educational facilities and commercial buildings. Blackrock’s growing customer base includes International Contractors, Government Agencies, Energy Companies and Developers. Blackrock PM works with many of the world’s leading construction litigation law firms and barristers.
Dunedin will back the management team at Blackrock PM, including directors Robert Palles-Clark, Austin Duffy, David Falkenstern, David Goodman, Joanne Prior, Richard Edwin, Neil Fitch, Ian Osbaldeston and founder and principal David Barry.
The global construction market is currently valued at $8.5 trillion and research published by ‘Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics’ forecasts that the volume of construction output will grow by more than 70% to $15 trillion worldwide by 2025. The number and value of litigation/arbitration cases is also increasing in the construction market. London is widely recognised as the global centre for excellence in construction litigation and arbitration and demand for independent expert services is at a record high, with demand outstripping supply. There are over 200 new cases for arbitration and litigation in construction every year in the UK, Middle East and Africa, most of which are served by London based expert services.
Giles Derry, Partner at Dunedin who joins the board of Blackrock PM commented: “Blackrock PM is a fast growing professional services business with an impressive management team, a strong brand and a reputation for providing the highest quality expertise to its global customer base. The construction dispute market is growing rapidly in tandem with increasing demand for independent expert services. This represents a great opportunity for a British business to export its first rate professional service to overseas markets that are rich in potential, and for Dunedin to draw on its considerable experience of helping businesses to achieve growth through international expansion.
“We are delighted to have sourced this transaction off-market without having to go through a formal process and our ability to fund it without bank debt has provided maximum flexibility for the team. This is a classic 21st century business and a global market leader in its field.”
David Barry, Principal of Blackrock PM commented: “Blackrock PM has a distinctive quality and integrity service offering in our marketplace, which we are keen to grow and develop. Dunedin’s investment provides us the platform from which to expand our services, capacity and international reach. We spoke to a number of potential investors but Dunedin stood out from the rest. We were impressed by their experience of growing and professionalising businesses, coupled with their integrity and open, direct culture. We will work alongside Dunedin to develop the infrastructure of our business and to create the very best operating platform to service our customers and clients both in the UK and internationally.”
Dunedin has a strong track record of internationalising businesses and has funded 26 acquisitions from its second and third funds, driving the growth and internationalisation of its investee companies. Blackrock PM represents the fourth investment that Dunedin has completed from its latest fund, Dunedin Buyout Fund III, which closed on £300 million in July 2013.
Leading the deal for Dunedin were Giles Derry (Partner), David Williams (Senior Partner), Simon Rowan (Investment Director) and Andrew Davidson (Associate).