A Quebec pipeline testing company backed by some of the province’s biggest investors has instantly transformed into one of Canada’s largest private technology companies on the heels of two major acquisitions this month.
Eddyfi NDT Inc., which tests pipelines, as well as power plants, refineries and other core infrastructure for cracks and defects, said Tuesday it had acquired Halfwave AS. The Norwegian company uses ultrasound technology to detect imperfections in offshore pipelines and was previously owned by a group of shareholders including EV Private Equity, Shell Technology Ventures and Chevron Technology Ventures.
Eddyfi chief executive Martin Theriault said the deal could be worth as much as $100-million if the acquired company, with 70 employees, meets its operating milestones in the next two years.
Earlier this month, the Quebec company (then called Eddyfi Technologies) acquired Dublin-based NDT Global, a global pipeline inspection company that provides service to energy transporters, for close to $500-million.
To fund the transactions, Eddyfi raised a combined $600-million in debt and equity from Brossard, Que.-based private equity firm Novacap LP, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, National Bank of Canada and the province’s Investissement Québec arm.
The two deals will triple Eddyfi’s size to more than $300-million in annual revenue, 1,000-plus employees an enterprise value of close to $1-billion. Without the impact of acquisitions, the company says it is growing by about 15 per cent a year. Demand is coming from owners of aging or defective infrastructure assets to head off breakdowns and potentially environmental damage.
Its latest acquisition could further fuel that growth by giving the company an offering for gas pipeline operators in North America with Halfware’s proprietary “acoustic resonance technology,” an ultrasound-based technique the company uses to make high-precision measurements in rough conditions, Mr. Theriault said.
Mr. Theriault, a mechanical engineer by training who was previously general manager of chemical giant Air Liquide’s Quebec operation, said his plan “is to make sure the business is sustainable and stays independent. We could have sold out [to foreign companies] but instead are trying to grow on our own.”
He said the company may make other acquisitions and hopes to go public in the next three to four years. The company was self-financed from its founding in 2010 until 2017, when the Caisse bought a 23-per-cent stake for $36.5-million. The Caisse invested a further $107-million as part of the recent financing.
The company is the latest in a string of successful Quebec technology-based enterprises including Lightspeed POS Inc., Alaya Care Inc. and Nuvei Corp. that have bulked up into hefty, acquisitive industry consolidators while remaining Canadian-based and controlled, thanks to backing from the Caisse and/or Novacap.
David Lewin, senior partner with Novacap, compared Mr. Theriault to Philip Fayer, of online payments giant Nuvei, which bought larger payments rival SafeCharge International Group Ltd., in August for nearly US$890-million and raised hundreds of millions of dollars from his firm and the Caisse.
“Similar to the Nuvei deal, we are partnering with an incredible entrepreneur who wanted to expand globally,” Mr. Lewin said.
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