Waterland Private Equity sells Cawood to Ensign-Bickford Industries (EBI)


Waterland Private Equity (“Waterland”) is pleased to announce that it has realised its investment in Cawood Scientific Limited (“Cawood” or “the Company”), a leading pan-European independent scientific research and analysis group, through the sale of its entire stake to Ensign-Bickford Industries, Inc. (“EBI”).

Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Bracknell, UK, Cawood has more than 620 staff operating in 16 locations across the UK, US, Spain, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland. The Company specialises in providing independent laboratory analysis for the agriculture, food, infrastructure and environmental sectors. It also offers contract research to support the development of agrochemicals, biocides, and other chemicals, as well as measurement and monitoring services for water, construction and ecology across the UK.

Waterland first partnered with Cawood in July 2019 and supported its strategic buy and build programme with the acquisition of four businesses, which, in turn, contributed to the Company’s doubling in size over the course of the partnership. To further the Company’s growth ambitions, Cawood also tripled capacity in its research function through the acquisition of i2L Research and IES Ltd, and consolidated its position in environmental analysis with the acquisition of Elab.

Under the terms of the agreement, Waterland sold its entire stake in Cawood to EBI, representing a cash-on-cash return of 3.7x. This is the first realisation made by Waterland’s UK office since it opened in 2017 and the first exit from Waterland Private Equity Fund VII.

Cawood and its shareholders were advised by Rothchild, Addleshaw Goddard and Deloitte.

Simon Parrington, CEO of Cawood commented: “We are grateful for Waterland’s support over the last two years, during which we have significantly accelerated our rate of growth and welcomed over 200 new colleagues to the Company. We now have an exceptionally compelling customer proposition thanks to the strategic investments in our sites, equipment, people and technology, and we are excited to build on this further by joining our platform with EBI.”

Ryan Hallworth, Investment Director at Waterland Private Equity commented: “We have enjoyed a fantastic partnership with Cawood, and, together, our strategic buy and build approach has created a market leading research and analysis solutions provider for land-based industries. With its strong footprint across agriculture, food, infrastructure and environmental sectors, Cawood is well-placed to grow further as part of EBI.”

Oli Bevan, Managing Director and Head of UK at Waterland Private Equity commented: “Cawood has been a tremendous investment for us, and is a perfect example of how our strategy of supporting a targeted M&A programme can create a market-leading business poised for further international growth. Waterland is enhancing its commitment to the UK market and its aim of supporting high-potential, high-quality companies, like Cawood, with their ambitions for growth, internationalisation, and strategic development.”

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