Wednesday, June 27, 2012

McColl's PE firm selling Charlotte-based energy services company

The private equity firm co-founded by former Bank of America Corp. chief executive Hugh McColl Jr. is selling its stake in a Charlotte-based energy services company, it announced today.

Falfurrias Capital Partners will sell its ownership interest in UC Synergetic, which provides energy and communications engineering, consulting and technical services, to Mount Airy-based Pike Electric Corp.

McColl's firm invested in UC Synergetic in 2007. Since then, the company has nearly tripled its base revenue and profitability by focusing on client service and expanding into high-growth communications, transmission and substation engineering markets through a series of acquisitions, Falfurrias said.

That solid performance convinced the former BofA chief it was time to sell, he said.

“Tripling your money is hard to beat,” he said. “We think the world of the management, and we felt we found a good home with them in (Pike Electric CEO) Eric Pike. He’ll be able to do more with them than we are.”

McColl and Pike met during a CEO seminar at Queens University of Charlotte a year or so ago; that led to early conversations about the deal, McColl said.

“It made sense for our people and him,” he said. “... He’s a smart guy, and I think he will be a good steward of that company.”

Pike Electric said in a news release it agreed to buy UC Synergetic and its parent company, Synergetic Design Holdings Inc., in an all-cash transaction valued at about $70 million.

The deal, expected to close in early July, will extend the company’s footprint in the Northeast and Midwest and boost its ability to provide outsourced engineering and other technical services, Pike said. UC Synergetic has offices across the U.S., including hubs in Atlanta, Raleigh and Boston.

Falfurrias, founded by McColl and former Bank of America chief financial officer Marc Oken in 2006, last month sold its controlling stake in Commercial Credit Group, a Charlotte-based provider of equipment financing for the construction, fleet transportation and waste industries. A few months earlier, the firm invested in Richmond investment research firm Dorsey Wright & Associates.

Going forward, McColl said his company will likely focus on businesses in the energy, clean water and financial services fields.

“I think one of the things we all know is, there’s a huge amount of money out there looking for good deals,” he said. “We’ll be doing the same thing.”

While he’s optimistic about the economic recovery, long term, he said business owners and investors are still looking for stability.

“The growth rates are not what we’d like them to be in this country,” he said. “People keep waiting for Europe to solve its problems. The truth of the matter is, we have to solve our own problems.”


Anonymous said...

“People keep waiting for Europe to solve its problems. The truth of the matter is, we have to solve our own problems.”

This is why I always enjoy reading McColl's comments. Clear, concise, and to the point..and accurate.