Manchester-based WysePower began as a plant hire company in 1958, Wyse Plant, providing hoists, cranes, cabins and general plant. Today it specialises in the provision of cabins, temporary power and security to construction sites.
The acquisition, completed in November 2022 but only revealed this week, represents another diversification from the core business of RSK, which is – or was – environmental consulting engineering. The previous month saw RSK buy a steel fabrication business.
WysePower has more than 260 directly employed staff operating from eight regional UK offices, along with operations in five European countries. It turned over £25m in the year to 31st March 2021 and made a profit of £3.8m before tax.
RSK Group chief executive Alan Ryder said: “Temporary site services remain in high demand despite the ongoing economic slowdown, and I expect this will only continue. Beyond this, WysePower is a great cultural fit in our group; the ethos and values of the business are very similar to those of the wider RSK family.”
WysePower managing director Shawn Callaghan, who will continue to lead the business, said: “For more than 60 years, we have developed and maintained the trust and support of our clients, who appreciate the breadth of our service packages, the quality of our designs and installations and the dedication of our employees. We look forward to continuing this work, specialising in prestige projects and emerging market sectors, such as high-tech manufacturing, hyperscale data centres and major infrastructure projects while benefitting from the growth RSK can offer. This gives us the opportunity to enhance our project work and client relationships by working with a host of RSK businesses from the same or related sectors.”
RSK now comprises more than 175 companies and employs 10,000 people having made dozens of acquisitions over the past six or seven years. It refinanced in July 2021 with Ares providing £1bn of debt finance and NatWest Bank providing a £40m revolving credit facility. When RSK files its accounts for the year to end of March 2022, it is expected to show turnover of more than £800m, up from £350.5m in 2020/21 and £274.8m in 2019/20. However, the accounts for these years show profits being wiped out by the substantial burden of interest repayments to backers. When, or if, RSK finally makes a profit remains moot.
As previously reported, this is not the strategy.
In the 2021 annual report Alan Ryder explained: “Having taken the decision to fund our growth with debt, rather than equity, the key metrics for success as measured by our board of directors are cash flow and compliance with the covenants agreed with our lenders. The primary covenant with our lenders requires our directors to maintain leverage (the relationship between Ebitda and debt) at an acceptable level and with plenty of headroom from the point at which our covenant would have an impact. Provided that leverage is maintained below 7x, the directors are comfortable that there is plenty of headroom and our current leverage of 5.19x is a very comfortable position for us. Even at leverage levels above 7x there is plenty of headroom against covenants, but for reasons of prudence the directors plan to maintain leverage in the order of 5x to 6x.”