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Vision Capital makes first play in nuclear sector

Vision Capital, a secondary direct firm, has acquired a portfolio including three nuclear consultancy businesses and a rail infrastructure specialist for £76.4m.

Vision Capital, a secondary direct specialist, has acquired a portfolio of four businesses from AEA Technologies, a UK listed environmental consultancy and technology group, for £76.4 million (€113 million).

The acquisition was the first to be made from Vision Capital Partners VI, a €350 million core fund with up to €650 million additional capacity through a series of parallel structures.

The acquired portfolio includes Rail, a software consultancy business focused on the rail sector, and Waste Management Technology, ESI and Kinectrics, three consultancy businesses dedicated to the nuclear industry.

Julian Mash, chief executive of Vision Capital, said that the AEA portfolio is the firm’s first investment in the nuclear sector. “We’ll be supporting the management and growing the companies over the medium term. There are lots of opportunities in the sector.”

Rail, based in Derby and London with subsidiaries in France, the Netherlands and Spain, provides software, hardware and consultancy services for UK railway infrastructure and control systems. WMT, based in Dorset, provides packaging and management services to the nuclear industry.

ESI, based in Pennsylvania, US, provides the energy, environmental and homeland security markets with specialist technical and engineering services. Kinectrics, based in Ontario, Canada, is a specialist in life cycle management services for the energy industry, principally in the fields of nuclear power, electricity transmission and environment.

Mash said that the ability to make a swift exit from its non-environmental businesses through a single portfolio sale had been in the best interests of AEA Technology: “From AEA’s point of view, we managed a strategic refocusing in one move rather than by selling the assets one at a time.”

AEA Technology was part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority until it became independent in 1994 and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1996. Since 2000, the group has carried out a planned exit from the UK nuclear industry.

In September 2005, Coller Capital, a global secondary specialist, acquired a portfolio of 10 businesses from AEA Technology for £40 million. The acquired portfolio included QSA, nCode, Accentus, Risk Solutions and Safeguard International.