United Living

united-living

United Living

United Living

Sector: Industrials, Business Services, Utilities

Status: In Portfolio

Fund: II

Deal type: Management buyout

Investment date: March 2017

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.

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 have worked with the ambitious management team to identify opportunities to expand the company’s services in the social housing market.

In 2019, Fastflow merged with United Living Group, a trusted brand and leading provider of new and refurbished homes for clients throughout the UK.

At the time, United Living employed 540 people and had a turnover of £275m. The merger 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 have provided clear synergies and created a strong platform for organic growth in property services and construction, and acquisitive growth in gas and water services.

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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