CET set for expansion following investment from Palatine Private Equity


Palatine Private Equity has completed the secondary buyout of CET UK, a specialist provider of infrastructure and property assurance services.

Palatine has taken a majority stake in the company, which employs over 470 staff and was established in 1989 in Castle Donington. The deal was supported by debt and working capital facilities from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank Acquisition Finance and Beechbook Capital.

The property assurance arm of the business provides specialist claim response, property risk investigation and issue mitigation services for the UK insurance claims sector. CET’s infrastructure division operates from a nationwide network of regional offices and UKAS accredited testing laboratories, providing a comprehensive range of materials testing and inspection services.

The investment from Palatine will allow CET’s Property Assurance business to develop new technology that will streamline the claims management and investigation process. The infrastructure business plans to roll out additional testing facilities across the UK to capitalise on the growth within this sector. Palatine will also support the on-going buy-and-build strategy for both divisions, broadening service capability and geographical reach.

The deal will see Palatine back the incumbent management team, which is headed by CEO, Peter Eglinton. The transaction, which was completed by Palatine’s Midlands office, was led by Tony Dickin, Richard Thomas and Tom Hustler.  The deal will see The Equity Harvest Fund exit the business.

The investment was made from Palatine’s Fund III, which closed at £220m in June 2015. The fund typically targets mid-market companies with investments ranging in size from £10m to £30m.

Palatine were advised by Midlands based Alantra and Browne Jacobson, with due diligence services provided by Grant Thornton, CIL and JLT. The vendors were advised by Clearwater International and Gateley PLC and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank was advised by Pinsent Masons.

Richard Thomas, Head of Midlands at Palatine Private Equity, said: “The business has a number of exciting opportunities across both of its core operations. Under Peter’s stewardship, CET has developed immensely, and we are delighted to be supporting Peter and his team with their future growth plans. Part of these growth plans will include a buy and build strategy across both sides of the business”.

David Williams, exiting Chairman of CET UK, said : “CET is now a well placed platform for growth. Palatine are an ideal and experienced successor investor, and I am sure will accelerate the programme of investment, particularly in continued technological innovation. On behalf of CET I would like to thank the Equity Harvest Fund investors for their imaginative and long term support. We wish Peter, his excellent team and Palatine every success”

I am delighted that Palatine will be supporting the business and look forward to working with them in achieving our ambitious growth plans. We will continue to focus on delivering great services for our customers, investing in smart technology and in developing our team.

Peter Eglinton