Utiligroup is a leading data management software and managed services provider to UK energy market participants. Founded in 1997, the Chorley-headquartered company has been the pioneer in delivering Energy2.0, the emergence of the independent energy market and the analogue to digital smart meter revolution.

The business was previously part of Bglobal plc. Following a strategic review, Bglobal pursued a strategy to realise value for shareholders. Matthew Hirst, Utiligroup’s CEO, recognised the opportunity to lead a buyout with the backing of NorthEdge, in a deal which completed in June 2014.

NorthEdge was attracted to Utiligroup because of its well-established market position, crafted through the development of high-quality software and services, and highly skilled management team, led by Matthew Hirst. The investment strategy was to strengthen the management team to enable them the bandwidth to capitalise on the growth in the independent energy supply sector. Funding was also provided to aid the development of new smart meter connectivity software, in advance of the launch of the smart meters to consumers from Summer 2017.

NorthEdge Exit

Over the investment period, Utiligroup saw rapid growth with turnover increasing by over 200 per cent.

NorthEdge Capital sold energy technology provider Utiligroup to Energy Services Group (ESG), a leading provider of technology solutions to the retail energy and utility industries, in April 2017. Utiligroup joined ESG, an Accel-KKR portfolio company, to support the company’s global growth strategy, providing a footprint in the European market.

The deal is the fifth exit from NorthEdge’s maiden £225m Fund I and has generated a gross 5.7x return on investment. NorthEdge is reinvesting alongside Accel-KKR as part of the deal given the exciting growth opportunities that remain in the sector.

Jon Pickering, Partner and Head of New Investments at NorthEdge, said: “The management team has performed exceptionally well during a time of significant change in the energy market. Consumer buying habits and changing regulations have seen new players enter the market, taking share away from the big six energy suppliers. The team have also capitalised on the opportunity to develop and then successfully launch smart grid software alongside extensive data analytics for existing and new customers. This has provided a number of further growth opportunities for Utiligroup in the UK, and the sale to Accel-KKR means the company is now in a strong position to expand internationally.”

Matthew Hirst, CEO at Utiligroup, said: “NorthEdge has supported us through a period of rapid expansion and the team’s continued support and experience has been invaluable to the business. We have now established ourselves as a true leader in the market, helping a growing range of diverse energy and utility companies to operate more efficiently through a combination of automated software, managed services and analytics. The latest acquisition provides a huge opportunity for Utiligroup to be recognised on a global stage and we’re excited about the next phase of growth with Accel-KKR and ESG.”

Sector TMT
Location Lancashire
Deal Type MBO
Investment Date June 2014
Exit Date April 2017

NorthEdge has supported us through a period of rapid expansion and the team’s continued support and experience has been invaluable to the business.

Matthew Hirst, CEO