Temple Bright team works with water industry specialist Northavon Group’s shareholders on its sale


Bristol and London law firm Temple Bright has advised the owners of water industry specialist the Northavon Group of companies on its sale to fast-growing engineering group OCU.

The Midsomer Norton based Northavon Group primarily operates in the water sector in the South of England and South Wales.

It provides a broad range of services including mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and civils design; construction and installation of clean and wastewater treatment facilities and sewage pumping stations; and maintenance services.

Its clients include a number of water utility companies including South West Water, Thames Water, Wessex Water and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. It also has divisions focusing on highways and groundworks.

The group includes Northavon Group, Northavon Holdings, Northavon Water Services, Hydrovein and Multivein.

Stockport-based OCU is an innovative service provider in the utilities industry. It serves a large, blue-chip client base throughout the UK and Ireland and is active in all utility areas including power, energy, telecoms, water, rail and directional drilling.

The acquisition of Northavon Group will support its growth across the water and wastewater sector as it continues to expand in water and energy-related opportunities. The deal will also give OCU a stronger regional presence across the South West.

Northavon Group managing director Mike Clancy said: “We are absolutely committed to providing our clients with the most comprehensive and dynamic capital project and maintenance support available.”

He said with less than two years to go until AMP8 – a new set of tougher environmental rules that will impact the water industry – there was huge potential to streamline ways of working to create an environment that both met regulatory requirements and gave the best service for its customers.

“OCU is focused on growing across water and energy-related sectors to increase its expertise and support societal and environmental goals,” he added.

“We’re excited to now be part of the group that shares our commitment to a greener and cleaner future and look forward to seeing what projects we can deliver together.”

OCU Utility Services managing director Adrian O’Sullivan added: “The experience and expertise Northavon has across the water space is both impressive and exciting.

“As we head towards net zero, it will be great to merge our teams, share learnings and inspire each other as we solve the challenges facing the industry.”

The team at Temple Bright was led by corporate partner Andy Poulton, assisted by partners Aaron Bennett (real estate), Tom Farman (employment), Comron Rowe (pensions), James Falle (competition and procurement), Andrew Tibber (IP & technology), Will Whitt (banking) and Carol Tricks (tax).

Andy Poulton said: “We are delighted to have advised the Northavon shareholders on this deal, which is of major significance not only for the parties but also for the UK water sector as a whole.

“The deal process was thoroughly positive and collaborative throughout. All involved rose to the occasion and through a combination of pragmatism, attention to detail and sensible advisers achieved a great result in a short timeframe.

“The natural synergies were obvious from the beginning which augurs well both for the future success of the business and for the environment.”

Mark Matthews, one of the Northavon shareholders, said: “Warmest thanks to Andy Poulton and his colleagues for helping us to get this deal over the line within a very exacting timetable.

“Temple Bright fielded a broad team of specialists who were able to handle whatever the process threw at them, keeping their eyes firmly on the goal.

“Andy was impressive both as a team leader and as an adviser, showing professionalism, pragmatism and responsiveness throughout.”

Legal advice for OCU Group on the deal came from Addleshaw Goddard.

Temple Bright was launched in 2010 using a tech-enabled, streamlined business model involving advice provided exclusively by partners.

It now has more than 70 partners spread between offices in Bristol and London EC2. The firm advises clients ranging from start-ups to PLCs across a broad range of sectors, with particular strength in M&A.

This article appeared in the Bristol Business Newsletter on 23 June 2023.

Andy High Res
Andy Poulton
  • Corporate
  • Commercial
  • IP & Technology
Aaron High Res 2023
Aaron Bennett
  • Real Estate
Tom Farman
  • Employment
  • ESG, Compliance & Investigations
Comron Rowe
  • Pensions
James Falle
  • Competition & Procurement
  • ESG, Compliance & Investigations
Andrew T Low Res New
Andrew Tibber
  • Commercial
  • Dispute Resolution - General
  • IP & Technology
  • Media & Entertainment
  • ESG, Compliance & Investigations
Will Whitt
  • Banking
  • Energy & Environment
Carol Buchanan
  • Corporate
  • Tax