OMERS buys utilities contractor

The United States Infrastructure Corporation finds and marks where underground gas, telephone, electrical or cable lines are located before construction begins. The transaction is set to close in the second quarter of 2010.

OMERS Private Equity, the private equity arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, has agreed to acquire a utility contracting company, the United States Infrastructure Corporation.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The seller is a private equity company, Kohlberg & Company, according to a press release.

The Indiana-based United States Infrastructure Corporation (USIC) provides utility locating services in 22 US states. That means “we go out with our locators and we mark where the gas, telephone, electrical or cable lines are”, said USIC chief operating officer Mark Burel.

“We are the largest company that do this,” he added, pointing out that USIC is active in 22 of the 50 US states. Additionally, there is a law in every state that requires utility lines to be located and marked before construction begins. So there is ample demand for the company’s services, including from telecommunications companies like AT&T and gas utilities.

Burel declined to comment whether this demand translates to very stable, predictable cashflows for USIC, a standard requirement of infrastructure-style investing.

But “we are a solid company,” he said.