Navigation Capital Partners (NCP), an Atlanta-based middle market private equity firm, has acquired LEPService, Inc., a leading provider of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)-related services to electric utilities in the Southeastern U.S. LEPService is the second in a series of acquisitions planned by NCP in support of its initiative to build an industry-leading provider of value-added field and data management services to electric, water and gas utilities.
LEPService, based in Atlanta, helps utilities bring intelligence to various portions of their transmission and distribution infrastructure. NCP plans to merge LEPService with its previous acquisition in this sector, Specialized Technical Services Holdings, Inc. (STS), to create a platform company able to offer utility customers a full array of AMI-related services. Such services include outsourced meter reading, full-service AMI meter implementations, SCADA and communications systems installation and maintenance, and data management solutions that enable improved asset management capabilities. NCP plans to further expand the platform company through additional acquisitions as well as organic growth.
STS, based near Lexington, Ky., is a leading provider of smart grid infrastructure upgrades and meter-related services to municipal, co-operative and investor-owned utilities. Robert E. Shively, current CEO of STS and a former member of NCP’s Executive-in-Residence program, will serve as CEO of the new entity.
Shively brings deep industry experience to the role, as he previously served as president of SM&P Utility Resources, one of the largest providers of underground locating services to utilities nationwide. NCP also engaged investment banking firm TM Capital Corp, with offices in Atlanta, Boston and New York, to support this initiative. Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice, PLLC served as legal counsel.
“LEPService represents an excellent strategic fit with STS, as LEPService will bring additional capabilities to STS while in turn, benefiting from STS’ geographic reach and customer breadth. The acquisition of LEPService will enables us to immediately expand the scope of services that we can offer to utilities across the country,” said Larry Mock, managing partner of NCP and board chairman of STS. “The new platform has both a seasoned management team and a depth of experience in AMI-related implementations that we believe sets us apart. By joining the resources of LEPService and STS, we are building the scale and capabilities necessary to be a leading contender well-positioned for future growth.”
NCP believes that utilities, driven by a number of market and regulatory factors, as well as by ongoing Federal stimulus investment in the development of “smart grid,” are entering a long-term infrastructure upgrade cycle with the goal of improving the “intelligence” of physical assets, and that this cycle will provide opportunities for exceptional service providers to grow at rates above historical norms. A significant part of this upgrade cycle will involve the continued adoption of AMI, which includes the deployment of “smart” meters, a segment of the market in which LEPService and STS are actively involved.
“The combination of STS and LEPS gives us the ability to offer our customers a more complete set of services than either company could previously provide alone,” said Shively. “Our complementary resources put us in the right strategic position to capitalize on marketplace opportunities, as a broad range of services and solutions is necessary to truly make assets ‘smart.’ This acquisition represents an important step in the execution of our strategy within the smart grid sector.”
NCP is seeking additional, high-quality companies to be a part of this initiative.
Ideal companies currently provide field services, data management solutions and/or data hosting solutions to customers in the utility sector. Please contact Robert Shively at 317.750.0140 or rshively[.]teamsts.com with ideas of companies that may fit the profile.
About Navigation Capital Partners (NCP)
Navigation Capital Partners (navigationcapital.com) is an Atlanta-based private equity firm making control growth and buyout investments in lower middle market companies. The managers of NCP formerly founded and managed Mellon Ventures, the private equity investment partnership of Mellon Financial Corporation. With the backing of Goldman Sachs Private Equity Opportunities Fund LP, NCP acquired the private equity portfolio of Mellon Ventures in December 2006. NCP currently manages approximately $277 million of invested and committed capital.
About LEPService, Inc.
Established in 1992, LEPService (leps.com) is an employee-owned company providing technical services for metering, SCADA, communications and rapid prototype development to meet complex challenges. LEPService is the market leader in smart meter installation, having been the first to set a one million meter milestone for one utility in the U.S.
About Specialized Technical Services, Inc. (STS)
Specialized Technical Services, Inc. (teamsts.com) is a utility services provider with headquarters outside Lexington, Ky., and support facilities in Montgomery and Mobile, Ala. STS provides a broad range of meter-related services to municipal, co-operative and investor-owned utilities. Meter-related services range from contract meter reading, to installation and change-outs to “smart” meters and associated data management.