The PCL Group provides design, engineering and computer simulation services to the automotive, truck and aerospace industries in Europe and the Far East.
PCL’s origins were founded in P+Z Engineering which was formed in Munich in 1967 and which serviced the German automotive and aerospace industries, with major customers including BMW, Audi and EADS. It became part of the UK listed group, Solvera PLC in 1993 before being sold to Primary by way of a management buy-out in March 1999.
The Big Idea
Primary had formed a strong relationship with the management team of P+Z prior to its sale by Solvera and we saw a great opportunity to diversify the business away from its concentrated, primarily German, customer base (BMW and EADS) and from narrow service lines focused on engineering and simulation. We also believed that there was a significant opportunity for strategic bolt-on acquisitions to create a meaningful European group.
The Grand Plan
PCL Group was formed with Primary’s financial backing and then made a further five strategic acquisitions across Europe, including in Italy and France. This enabled PCL Group to expand its customer base across both European and Far Eastern manufacturers, as well as acquiring expertise in the heavy truck industry with customers including Scania and Daimler Chrysler. Furthermore, its skill base was broadened across a full range of services, from initial design, engineering and computer simulation through to modelling and prototyping services. During the six years of our ownership headcount increased from 250 to over 800 in nine locations and turnover quadrupled.
The Bottom Line
The business was sold in 2005 to the Japanese listed ARRK Corporation, generating a return of 4.7x the original investment cost.
Date of investment: March 1999
Deal status: Realised
Date of realisation: January 2005
Investment return multiple: 4.7x cost
For more information talk to: Neil Wallace or Charles Gonszor