Energy transactions helped to drive a record year of deals for Johnston Carmichael’s corporate finance team. M&A activity in the sector accounted for about a third of the team’s £600m-plus of deals in the financial year ending 31 May 2023.
In total the corporate finance team, led by Graham Alexander, partner and Head of Corporate Finance, delivered 43 deals with a total value of £617m in the firm’s last financial year.
This figure includes 15 transactions in energy, infrastructure, and sustainability (EIS) which together had a combined value of £200m. Graham Alexander, partner and Head of Corporate Finance, said: “After the recent challenges of Brexit, the pandemic and inflationary pressures, our corporate finance team is extremely proud to have achieved our most successful year.
“EIS deals played a key role. We were lead adviser on a variety of transactions, working with some well-established businesses in the sector both in the UK and overseas.
“A favourable exchange rate following Brexit is definitely a factor but there is some very exciting innovation in energy technology taking place here in the UK, especially in North Sea decommissioning, that is attracting the attention of investors.
“Technological innovation in energy services that improves efficiency and reduces cost have always been at the heart of the industry and we see that growing across decommissioning, including plug and abandonment operations (P&A), carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen.”
Incorporating five partners and five directors, Johnston Carmichael’s 20-strong corporate finance team is located across the UK. Its experts have in-depth experience and knowledge of M&A, financial due diligence, fundraising, valuations and dispute resolution, financial modelling and business planning, and project finance.
Amongst the EIS deals the team have worked on was the sale of UK-based well surveillance technology specialists, SolaSense, to Expro, a leading provider of energy services listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: XPRO).
Johnston Carmichael was engaged by SolaSense, a Distributed Fibre Optic Sensing (DFOS) company, to manage the transaction from initial marketing through to deal completion.
SolaSense’s technology features sophisticated data processing and compression software and an enhanced visualisation interface to deliver real-time analysis and diagnosis of any issues much more quickly and comprehensively than traditional fibre optic technologies and data management processes.
Expro offers an extensive range of services across the complete well life cycle for both onshore and offshore exploration and production companies around the globe. Its acquisition of SolaSense, which it had worked closely with for many years, will expand its market offering even further, providing customers with a one-stop-shop for well health checks and analysis as well as the provision of any subsequent remediation solutions.
Other notable deals include Johnston Carmichael’s engagement to provide financial and tax due diligence to support the acquisition of a 27.45MW onshore wind farm portfolio located in Fife, County Durham and Bedfordshire.
According to Graham, the energy transition will continue to support deals across the sector in 2024.
He added: “Looking ahead, despite the uncertain economic outlook, we anticipate opportunities for well-funded trade buyers, both in the UK and internationally, as well as PE investors as they continue to look for deals where they can deploy funds into opportunities that combine oil and gas fundamentals alongside an energy transition pathway.”