Jul 12, 2022

Capstone Partners Advised Saur Group on Its Acquisition of Aqua-Chem

Capstone Partners advised Saur Group — a leading service provider in the global water management sector and a portfolio company of EQT — on its acquisition of Aqua-Chem. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Saur Group is a French environmental services company that supports local authorities and industries in their development projects related to water, waste management, engineering, infrastructure services, and leisure activities. Saur serves approximately 7,000 French municipalities under long-term contracts. With operations in over 20 countries and 60 active patents for water-related innovations, Saur serves 30 million people with 700 billion liters of clean drinking water annually. The company’s service offerings include optimizing water resources and operations, wastewater treatment, waste recovery and recycling, as well as engineering and product design.

Saur expects significant synergies from cross-selling opportunities across existing customers, as well as the development of rental and other service solutions, manufacturing synergies, and joint technical collaboration. Following the acquisition, Aqua-Chem will become the North American platform and water purification global center of excellence of Nijhuis Saur Industries (NSI)–the Industrial Water arm of Saur formed after the acquisition of Netherlands-based Nijhuis Industries in 2020. With the addition of Aqua-Chem, NSI obtains a highly complementary portfolio of water purification and process water treatment solutions with leading market positions and a large installed base in growth end-markets such as pharmaceuticals & life sciences, beverage, energy, and the U.S. military.

Patrick Blethon, Executive Chairman of Saur, said, “I am excited to welcome Aqua-Chem and all its talented employees into our Group. The acquisition of Aqua-Chem firmly places Saur among the leading players in North America. Leveraging the strong complementarities between Aqua-Chem and our Group, Saur will be uniquely positioned to offer an unmatched value proposition to its clients with increasingly innovative solutions. This acquisition is a key step in the deployment of our roadmap to establish Saur as the champion of the water transition globally.”

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee, Aqua-Chem specializes in water purification, with market-leading technologies in vapor compression distillers, reverse osmosis, pure steam generation, and pre-treatment solutions. Aqua-Chem focuses primarily on the North American market where it generates about 70% of its revenues. The company employs 165 people worldwide and services a highly diversified client base of more than 300 customers across its four end markets of pharmaceuticals, beverage, energy, and military.

Shane DeWitt, CEO of Aqua-Chem, commented, “Today marks a new step in Aqua-Chem’s long history of excellence and successful development. Together with Saur and NSI, we will invest in our long-term growth, accelerate our product development as well as add new service solutions and resources, helping our clients solve their complex water challenges with superior scale, unparalleled capability, and unique and differentiated innovation.”

The investment banking deal team was led by Capstone Partners’ Industrial Technology Group (ITG) in conjunction with Aerospace, Defense, Government and Security Group (ADGS).

ITG is honored to have worked closely alongside EQT, one of the most distinguished global private equity firms and Saur, a leading innovator and service provider in the global water sector.

Peter NamGroup Head & Managing Director of the Industrial Technology Group, Capstone Partners

Tess Oxenstierna, Managing Director of the Aerospace, Defense, Government and Security Group, added “Aqua-Chem’s water technology onboard U.S. Navy surface ships proved a complimentary customer set to its commercial business. This is especially compelling as the U.S. seeks to increase its military fleet size, based on its 30-year shipbuilding plans.”

Capstone Partners has developed a full suite of corporate finance solutions, including M&A advisory, debt advisory, financial advisory, and equity capital financing to help privately owned businesses and private equity firms address any need, ranging from growth and financial or operational advisement to an ultimate exit transaction. To learn more about this transaction, or about the benefits of starting a relationship with our ITG or ADGS investment banking teams, contact us here.