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Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL
Picture: 123RF/RAWPIXEL

As a preferred private-equity partner, RMB Corvest has an authoritative track record and enjoys the diverse skills of an experienced executive team.

“Our emphasis is on establishing long-term partnerships,” says Mike Donaldson, CEO of RMB Corvest. “These partnerships are stable, supported and profitable.”

Proof of this successful approach was RMB Corvest’s exit from the Servest Group after a sustained investment period, generating superior returns.

“In 2006, RMB Corvest, alongside a black economic empowerment (BEE) player, acquired a significant minority stake in Servest SA,” says Donaldson. “The transaction considerably strengthened the company’s BEE credentials, while management assumed control of the business.”

Servest SA then supplemented organic growth through acquisitions, including two RMB Corvest portfolio investments in the building services sector, namely industrial health services, and plants at work.

“These and various additional investments ensured a broader diversified portfolio for Servest – building the brand as a truly African multiservices facilities management business,” says Kenton Fine, group chairman at Servest.  

Mike Donaldson, RMB Corvest CEO. Picture: SUPPLIED/RMB
Mike Donaldson, RMB Corvest CEO. Picture: SUPPLIED/RMB

Taking the Servest SA model offshore created opportunities, and a service portfolio was built in the UK via acquisitions.

“In 2007, Servest SA and RMB Corvest acquired a controlling interest in a small niche cleaning business, which later formed the platform for the expansion of Servest UK,” says Kenton Fine. “Subsequently, RMB Corvest assisted Servest UK to acquire auxiliary cleaning businesses servicing the commercial and public sectors.”

Later, acquisitions broadened operations into security, catering and building services, transforming Servest UK into a comprehensive multiservices facilities-management provider.

A decade after its initial investment, having achieved remarkable gain, RMB Corvest began a steady exit from Servest, starting with selling its equity in Servest SA to a local BEE player.

“The South African exit transaction in 2015 summarises our investment vision in being exceptionally beneficial to all parties,” says Martin Coetzee, director at RMB Corvest. “The sale positioned Servest SA still more strongly in the market and achieved the purchaser’s aspirations to expand its local and continental footprint in the facilities management sector, while realising significant return for us.”

Three years later, in 2018, RMB Corvest exited its investment in Servest UK through a notable sale to a major European facilities-management business. The transaction concluded RMB Corvest’s involvement with the Servest brand.

“This very successful exit was precisely the desired outcome of our creation of Servest UK, and our growing that business was achieved through the strategic initiatives spearheaded by Kenton Fine,” says Donaldson.

In the 12 years since RMB Corvest co-funded the formation of Servest UK, the business delivered compound profit growth of 26% per year. Moreover, through RMB Corvest’s acquisition skills and strategic guidance, coupled with the proficiency of the Servest UK management team, an exit value of £540m (R10bn) was achieved.

“RMB Corvest has demonstrated its skill and expertise, both locally and offshore, in aggressively growing companies through acquisitions – as per our very successful ‘build and grow’ strategy for the Servest Group,” says Donaldson.

RMB Corvest is an on-balance sheet provider of private equity for mid-sized management buy-outs, leveraged buy-outs, development capital and funded BEE solutions.
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This article was paid for by RMB Corvest.

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