Australian engineering firms join for a “critical” common purpose

29.4.2024

Governments, communities and businesses have committed to decarbonisation making the transition to clean energy a top priority. To build clean energy systems like solar and wind, as well as batteries for storage, we need critical minerals like copper, lithium, cobalt and nickel. As demand for these minerals has skyrocketed, so has the demand for the people who build the technology to extract them and turn them into clean energy systems – Process Engineers like the team at Prudentia Engineering (Sedgman Prudentia).  

Strategic review unearths key value drivers

In a strong position to take advantage of this clean energy growth opportunity, Prudentia asked InterFinancial to conduct a strategic review of the business. With specific sector expertise and international networks in mining and engineering, Prudentia saw InterFinancial as a strong partner.

This review explored whether Prudentia should continue the growth alone or look for a strategic partner to work alongside.  

Through our Strategic Options Analysis, we work with shareholders to assess three key areas. Firstly, understanding their individual shareholder objectives – both financial and non-financial. Secondly, we sound out the market through industry research and direct feedback from market participants. Then, we assess the key value drivers of the business to identify key risks and mitigation strategies.  

Brad Shaw, CEO InterFinancial, “Working through this methodology with Prudentia gave the project team an in-depth understanding of the options available and how each aligned with shareholder ‘must-haves’. Based on the outcome of this analysis, we agreed that seeking out a strategic growth partner was the best way forward.”  

Embarking on an international sale process

Armed with insights from the Strategic Options Analysis, we then ran an extensive search process for the right partner to invest in and work with Prudentia.  With InterFinancial managing the sale process, Prudentia’s three shareholders continued overseeing operations and remained involved in several large projects.  

Through our own industry networks and our partners at Clairfield International, we fielded interest from a number of international and domestic large and mid-tier engineering companies and consultancies.  Through this process, and modelling various transaction scenarios, CIMIC-owned, global engineering firm Sedgman was identified as the strongest partner.

A partnership with Sedgman would deliver on Prudentia’s objectives of expanding their capability and ability to deliver on larger projects. For Sedgman, an acquisition would enhance their existing critical minerals and mineral processing expertise in copper, high purity alumina, vanadium, lithium, cobalt, rare earths, uranium and nickel.

Once a Non-Binding Indicative Offer (NBIO) was received from Sedgman, we supported Prudentia to enter an exclusive negotiation. We then negotiated the term sheet, managed due diligence and oversaw the final contract negotiations.  

John Fry, Cofounder of Prudentia says, “Brad’s firsthand experience in mining and engineering gave us confidence that he, Maggie and the wider InterFinancial team deeply understood our objectives and challenges. Brad is a ‘cut to the chase’ type person which worked well for us.” 

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