09/12/2019 - 12:37

GenusPlus adds to growth with EC&M acquisition

09/12/2019 - 12:37

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Privately-owned contractor GenusPlus Group has completed its fifth acquisition in the space of two years, confirming today it has bought EC&M out of administration with plans to retain a small group of key staff to help rebuild the business.

GenusPlus adds to growth with EC&M acquisition
Simon Higgins of ECM Group (left) and GenusPlus Group founder and managing director David Riches.

Privately-owned contractor GenusPlus Group has completed its fifth acquisition in the space of two years, confirming today it has bought EC&M out of administration with plans to retain a small group of key staff to help rebuild the business.

Belmont-based GenusPlus said it would offer ongoing employment to EC&M’s service business team and core project group of 40 full-time staff.

That’s a far cry from the 400 workers EC&M employed before being placed into administration earlier this year.

As recently as late August, KPMG administrator Clint Joseph said EC&M was employing 150 staff across four projects for Tianqi Lithium, CBH Group, Alcoa and CITIC Pacific Mining.

ECM had recent annual revenue of more than $150 million and has delivered over $1.9 billion of electrical & instrumentation (E&I) packages across 280 projects over its 33-year history.

However, in light of its recent financial troubles, its main attraction is likely to be the skills and experience of its key people rather than its order book.

The key people include EC&M chief executive Simon Higgins, who will continue to run the business under its new ownership.

GenusPlus was established in its current form only two years ago by 34-year-old managing director David Riches.

The contractor said it would have around 400 full-time employees after the EC&M acquisition but did not disclose its revenue.

Its foundation business was overhead powerline contractor Powerlines Plus, established by Mr Riches in 2009.

GenusPlus has completed four acquisitions, including Diamond Communications, which it bought from listed company Perenti Global (formerly Ausdrill) for $6.2 million in 2018.

Diamond (which now trades as Diamond Underground Services) had annual revenue of $17.9 million in the year before it was sold.

Genus has also bought Perth firm Complete Cabling, Queensland-based Burton Power and Kambalda-based electrical contractor KEC.

Mr Riches said the EC&M acquisition will allow GenusPlus to offer a vertically integrated product and services solution for clients across power generation, transmission, substation, distribution and E&I.

“We are excited about GenusPlus’ ability to offer our Powerlines Plus and Diamond Underground Services clients a vertically integrated power and telecommunications infrastructure solution that includes E&I through the newly acquired ECM,” Mr Riches said in a statement.

The formation of GenusPlus in 2017 included the appointment of an experienced board of directors, led by chairman Simon High, who is currently area director of insurance broker Gallagher but formerly led contractors Ausgroup and Southern Cross Electrical.

The board includes former Ausdrill and Macmahon Holdings CFO José Martins and Paul Gavazzi, a Sydney-based partner with Sparke Helmore Lawyers.

GenusPlus was advised by Sternship Advisers.

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