Palatine-backed CTS builds for the future with second strategic bolt-on deal in two months


Construction Testing Solutions (CTS), the leading provider of construction-related professional services, has acquired Nicholls Colton Group in a second strategic bolt-on deal in just two months.

CTS, backed by Palatine since November 2018, and previously known as CET Infrastructure, provides construction testing, geotechnical, structural investigation, calibration, and consulting services nationwide.

The acquisition of Nicholls Colton, which is headquartered in Leicester, will bring more than 100 skilled employees to CTS. Nicholls Colton was founded in 1965 and is active in the commercial, energy, environmental, highway, housing, maintenance, rail, utility, brownfield and recycling sectors. Its former owner and CEO, Ian Elliot is remaining with the combined business and joining the management team.

The acquisition of Nicholls Colton Group fits into CTS’ growth plans. It is the second bolt-on deal in three months after the company snapped up Surrey-based Card Geotechnical Services (CGL) in December 2020.

In purchasing Nicholls Colton, CTS is enhancing and extending its existing capabilities with the addition of in-house chemistry testing capabilities.

Phil Coles, Chief Executive of CTS said: “The Nicholls Colton Group acquisition strengthens our position in the UK construction testing market and provides numerous synergies and opportunities that benefit both CTS and our clients.

“This acquisition complements the CGL deal announced just two months ago and reinforces our commitment to growth in this sector in attracting market leading talent and capability to our business.”

Ian Elliot said “I’m delighted to be joining CTS as director on the senior leadership team supporting the integration process and the future growth of the combined business.”

Debt finance for acquisition was provided by the Birmingham office of Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank, led by Ian Howey and Sunil Prabhaker.

Financial Due Diligence was provided by Grant Thornton’s Midlands team, while legal advice was provided by Gareth Davies and Ryan Brown at Browne Jacobson.

We’re delighted to support CTS with another acquisition, following quickly after the acquisition of CGL in early December. Nicholls Colton is a great addition to the business and demonstrates our continued appetite to support the team with their buy and build strategy.

Tom Hustler

Investment Manager, Palatine Private Equity