United Living


United Living

United Living

Sector: Industrials, Utilities, Business Services

Status: Realised

Fund: II

Deal type: Management buyout

Investment date: March 2017

Realisation date: August 2023

Tyne and Wear-based United Living has undergone significant changes sine our investment in 2017, rebranding from Fastflow Group and expanding its three distinct business lines.

The company provides maintenance services to the owners of critical assets – water, gas and social housing.

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United Living

United quote image

“I was keen to find a partner who understood the business and could help us realise our ambitious growth plans. The references I took from entrepreneurs Elysian have supported indicated that they could provide added value advice through an empathetic style and this has been borne out during the investment process and since the deal was done.” 

Neil Armstrong

Chief Executive, United Living

United Living

United investment rationale

Investment rationale

Fastflow, as it was then known, had built a strong business based on specialist engineering in water utility maintenance and was eager to expand its activities in social housing and into property services.

The market drivers and customer relationships for each of the businesses provided a positive backdrop for our investment.

The company had a reputation for fantastic customer service owing to the quality of its systems, processes and people, and had recently achieved tier one contractor status with a new customer, Scottish Water.

It also benefitted from long-term framework agreements, giving a strong sense of lock-in and a recurring nature of business.

Creating value

We worked with the ambitious management team to identify opportunities to expand the company’s services in the social housing and infrastructure markets.

In 2019, Fastflow acquired the United Living Group, a trusted brand and leading provider of new social housing as well as a social housing repair and refurbishment business for clients throughout the UK.

At the time, United Living employed 540 people and had a turnover of £275m. The acquisition led to a combined headcount of more than 1,100 people and a combined turnover of £412m.

The enlarged maintenance and new social housing capability provided clear synergies and created a strong platform for organic growth in property services and acquisitive growth of other services.

In 2021, we supported management in the acquisition of Great British Communications, a specialist provider of design, procurement, installation, commissioning, maintenance and repair services to mobile network operators (MNO’s) and a leading player in the roll out of 5G. This acquisition significantly enhanced the group’s ability to provide critical infrastructure services for its customers and provided a platform to further grow into the telecoms space. 

In June 2023, United Living Group was sold to funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management’s (NYSE:APO) Impact platform (“Apollo Impact”).

Under our ownership, the combined United Living business has:

  • Created a leading infrastructure, housing and property service group providing essential services and critical assets that support daily life, all under one brand.
  • Acquired Great British Communications (GBC), a 5G mobile telecommunication asset installer, to add to the infrastructure pillar of the group.
  • Responded rapidly to the pandemic to focus on efficiency, reducing overheads and managing cash.
  • Rolled-out new finance, workflow and business intelligence systems. 
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