Cognetas sells Global Solutions for £355m

Nigel McConnell's firm has made two and a half times its investment with the sale of outsourced support services business Global Solutions to a trade buyer.

Cognetas, a mid-market European private equity firm specialising in complex deals, has sold Global Solutions for £355 million to G4S.

Global Solutions is a provider of outsourced support services to public authorities and corporate organisations worldwide. Services are typically provided under long-term contracts of five to 30 years either directly to the end customer or through joint ventures and Public Private Partnerships with government and corporates.

Nigel McConnell, the firm's managing partner, told PEO the sale generated an IRR in the mid-30s and a multiple of the original investment of 2.5 times.

Cognetas backed the original buyout of GSL in 2004 in a £207 million (€309 million) transaction. At the time, Cognetas underwrote equity and debt to facilitate certainty for the vendor with an initial commitment of £105 million (€158 million) on behalf of Cognetas Fund I.  This was reduced within two months to £54 million (€81 million) by introducing senior debt. The balance of the funding was provided by Englefield Capital.

Since then Cognetas has supported management in the implementation of a growth plan that has seen revenues increase from £291 million in 2004 to over £400 million in 2007 through organic growth, acquisition and expansion of services in its sectors over three continents with the number of staff employed increasing by over 25 percent to more than 9,500.

Cognetas was advised by UBS and Ashurst.