Baird Capital, the direct private investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co., announced today that its U.K. private equity group has invested £10.1 million in Watkins Hire (Watkins), a provider of industrial and commercial heating and cooling equipment rental services. Watkins will use the funding to expand its rental fleet to support business growth and to invest in its engineering, operational and service infrastructure. As part of the transaction, Baird Capital is backing experienced executive Paul O’Kelly to lead Watkins as CEO.
Founded in 1998, Watkins supplies heaters, steam and water boilers, air handlers and chillers to a wide variety of blue chip clients. The company also has a dedicated events division, providing equipment rental at special prestigious UK and International major events, including the 2012 London Olympics. Headquartered in Lydney, Watkins has several depots serving regions throughout the U.K.
Baird Capital will leverage its international network and global industrial sector expertise to help Watkins expand its customer base. Baird Capital Managing Directors Andrew Ferguson and James Benfield will join Watkins’ board, as will Baird Capital Operating Partner David Barrass as Chairman.
Commenting on the transaction, James Benfield said:
“We are delighted to partner with the Watkins management team, and through our strong sector knowledge and resources to help the company build on its reputation as a trusted provider of quality temperature control services.”
Paul O’Kelly commented:
“We are excited to work with Baird Capital to build on our position as a national leader in the heating and cooling rental space. Their global operational expertise and sector experience will be valuable as we focus on driving growth.”
About Baird Capital
Baird Capital makes venture capital, growth equity and private equity investments in strategically targeted sectors around the world. Baird Capital’s U.K.-based private equity team invests in U.K. lower middle market companies in the Business Services, Industrial and Consumer Products, and Healthcare sectors. Baird Capital leverages its in-depth sector knowledge, experienced investment team and network of relationships to serve as a value-added partner for its portfolio companies. Baird Capital provides operational support to its portfolio companies through teams on the ground in Asia, a pro-active portfolio operations team and a deep network of relationships which together strive to deliver enhanced shareholder value. Baird Capital is the direct private investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. For more information and important disclosures, please visit BairdCapital.com. Baird Capital Partners Europe Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
For additional information contact:
Andrew Ferguson: +44 (0)20 7667 8138
James Benfield: +44 (0)20 7667 8457
Cubitt Consulting (PR advisers to Baird): +44 (0)20 7367 5100
James Isola: +44 (0)7904 170936