Business Irish

Saturday 24 March 2018

Noonan sold to South African firm for €175m

Noonan CEO John O’Donoghue. Photo: Dee Organ Photography
Noonan CEO John O’Donoghue. Photo: Dee Organ Photography
Dearbhail McDonald

Dearbhail McDonald

Noonan, the Dublin-based facilities management and contract cleaning company, has been bought by South Africa's Bidvest for €175m, the second time the company has been sold in less than 10 years.

Noonan, which was acquired for €90m by London-based Alchemy in 2008 and generates 40pc of its revenues in the UK, will be taken over by Bidvest later by the end of August. The deal is subject to approval by the South African Reserve Bank.

The announcement came amid reports that a majority stake in Invis Energy, a leading independent onshore wind business, has been sold for around €300m to a Japanese- led consortium.

Yesterday Japan's Sojitz Corporation said it had concluded a stock purchase agreement through subsidiary ShaMrocK Wind - a joint venture established in the UK with Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance and several Kansai Electric Power subsidiaries - to acquire a 60pc stake in Cork-headquartered Evalair (commonly named Invis Energy) "through which Sojitz will take on operation of a wind power plant in Ireland".

Noonan, which employs some 13,000 in the UK and Ireland, was set up in 1977 to provide contract cleaning services and later expanded into areas like landscaping, security and building maintenance.

The company, whose Dublin HQ provides Bidvest with a European base to exploit opportunities after Brexit, is targeting growth in a number of sectors including life sciences, technology, agrifoods, retail, commercial and finance, police and justice, healthcare, education, central and local government and transport.

Ireland will remain a key market. "This is an exciting and groundbreaking acquisition for Bidvest," said Bidvest CEO Lindsay Ralphs. "Following the unbundling of our food services business last year, we have said we intend pursuing a strategy of acquisitions that will provide geographic diversification for certain of our core businesses.

"This acquisition achieves that objective and fits neatly into our criteria for growth and value enhancement."

Noonan has been an attractive takeover target for some time. Since its acquisiton by Alchemy, turnover has more than tripled to over €300m.

The most recently available accounts, covering 2015, saw it post strong increases in revenue and earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda). Revenue hit €303.9m, up almost 50pc, on foot of strong organic growth and as well as the impact of acquisitions. Noonan CEO John O'Donoghue said: "With the backing of such a strong new owner, and with a long-term time horizon, it gives fantastic backing for Noonan to pursue its growth plans."

Irish Independent

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