Clarke completes sale to US trade party, Kohler Corporation

ECI Partners today announces the sale of our investment in Clarke Energy to Kohler Co.'s Power Group, a global leader in engines and power generation systems.

Clarke Energy is a multinational specialist in the engineering, construction, installation and maintenance of engine-based power plants and is an authorised distributor of GE’s reciprocating engines in 19 countries worldwide.

A global force in power solutions since 1920, Kohler is committed to reliable, leading-edge products and comprehensive after-sale support. Kohler’s acquisition of SDMO in 2005 created one of the world’s largest manufacturers of generators. The companies have a combined 150 years of experience in industrial power and now benefit from global R&D, manufacturing, and sales and service. 

Since ECI invested alongside Jim and Jamie in August 2012, the business has continued to outperform the market through investment in people and technology and has delivered consistent, profitable growth. Highlights include:

  • ECI supported Clarke Energy in overseas acquisitions in Bangladesh, South Africa, Mozambique, and the US, helping the business to achieve its goal of being a truly global player.
  • Clarke Energy was awarded Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2014.
  • In 2015 Clarke Energy’s UK operations reached its biggest milestone to date, achieving 1 gigawatt of installed power and the company now has over 5.4GW of power generation equipment spread across 19 countries. 
  • Turnover has grown 50% during that time
  • Employment has grown from 700 to 1,100

Jim Clarke, Chairman and founder of Clarke Energy: “It has been an enjoyable and rewarding few years working with ECI helping to increase the international expansion of Clarke Energy. We are excited about working with Kohler to further enhance our global reach.” 

Jamie Clarke, CEO of Clarke Energy: “I have thoroughly enjoyed working with John Hayhurst, Lewis Bantin, Mark Keeley and the team at ECI.  These are exciting times for Clarke Energy as we look to build, with Kohler, on our decades of success.”

John Hayhurst, at ECI, commented: “It has been a pleasure to be able to play a small part in the Clarke Energy story and especially working with Jim and Jamie. We wish the team every success for the future with Kohler.”

The successful investment in Clarke Energy is another example of how we collaborate with founders, combining their knowledge with our experience, and working together to build successful businesses.  This is ECI’s first exit of 2017 and the eighth full exit from ECI 9 since April 2014 following the recent successful exits in 2016 at Citation (5.4x)Reed & Mackay (3.4x) and rhubarb (3.1x). This fund now has seven remaining investments. 

Our track record in the business services and industrials sectors is unparalleled in UK private equity and other recent successful investments include Reed & Mackay sold to Inflexion (August 2016), Chartco sold out of Kelvin Hughes to Equistone (June 2016), Citation sold to Hg (February 2016), Wireless Logic sold to CVC (February 2015), and XLN Business Services sold to Blackstone’s GSO (September 2014).

Current investments in the business services and industrials sectors include Edenhouse, Harvard Technology, Kelvin Hughes, Encore, Investis, and Imagesound