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Renew buys gas infrastructure firm for £14.8M

Renew has acquired gas infrastructure outfit Forefront in a deal worth £14.8M.

Essex-based Forefront operates in the south east of England and focuses on the replacement of gas mains and other services for National Grid and Southern Gas Networks.

In the year ended 29 March 2013, it posted turnover of £26.9M and an operating profit of £1.7M.

Forefront provides its services through framework agreements and employs approximately 350 people.

A statement from Renew said: “The gas infrastructure market is highly regulated and Forefront’s revenues are derived from the 30-year gas mains replacement programme which involves the replacement of iron gas mains pipes with polyurethane mains.

“Forefront specialises in both low and medium pressure outlets up to 48” diameter. The business also deals with emergency gas leaks and has a specialised under pressure drilling capability. Forefront also provides a complete reinstatement service and operates its own material recycling facility.”

Forefront’s founder and chief executive Bradley Beard has entered into a new 12 month service contract, which cannot be terminated for two years, and the whole Forefront management team will remain with the business. Beard will report to Renew’s chief executive, Brian May.

Roy Harrison, chairman of Renew, commented: “The acquisition of Forefront takes the group into a new sector within the energy market and is in line with our strategy of broadening our range of engineering services supporting critical UK infrastructure. As part of the Renew Group, Forefront, which has a leading industry reputation, will continue to develop its strong, independent brand. The gas mains network replacement programme provides Forefront with long term visibility and excellent growth opportunities.”

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