Grant Thornton UK LLP’s Wales and South West corporate finance team has advised on the sale of South Wales based electrical engineering business Hornbill Engineering Ltd to OCU Group, the national energy and utilities group, backed by Triton Partners.

Headquartered in Llandarcy, Neath and with offices in Pembrokeshire and Mold, Hornbill was founded in 1989 and employs around 120 skilled people.

The business operates globally, servicing clients across the power, water, gas, rail, and other sectors and has enjoyed strong recent growth amid significant investment in green energy infrastructure.

Operations director Gavin Murray will become the business’s managing director and all Hornbill staff will be retained by OCU Group as the Stockport-based, private equity-backed company accelerates its growth having recently posted annual revenues of £295m, up 34% on the previous year.


Hornbill founder, Russell Scaplehorn, commented “We are delighted with the outcome of the transaction process and believe that OCU will be an excellent partner for the business going forward. We could not be happier with the approach taken by the Grant Thornton team and they have been instrumental in delivering what is an excellent outcome for all parties”.

SME Investment Partners, which backed a 2021 management buyout of the business, has also exited the company.

Darren Edwards, co-founder of SME Finance Partners and SME Investment Partners said: “This is a great outcome for all parties, and I’m particularly pleased for Russell who deserves every success having founded the business over 30 years ago.

“Grant Thornton was first class on this transaction, instrumental in delivering an excellent outcome for the shareholders, and I’d like to thank Jamie Roberts and his team for all of their work on this. “

Grant Thornton corporate finance director Jamie Roberts added: “Hornbill Engineering is a first-class business right at the heart of critical energy security and energy transition initiatives. Its highly specialist engineering skill set, comprehensive stable of accreditations, and longstanding customer base underpin its reputation for quality built over decades of trading and it has been a pleasure advising the shareholders on this successful transaction.

“OCU Group emerged during a highly competitive sale process as a strong strategic partner for Hornbill. This acquisition will further strengthen OCU’s presence across Wales and the South West whilst also expanding its capability in the renewables and decarbonisation space.”

The Grant Thornton corporate finance team also included Andrew Charter, Thomas Bew and Elisabeth Lubin. The firm’s tax team led by partner Richard Marsh assisted by Hannah Jones and Tom Davies also advised the vendors. Capital Law acted as legal advisors to the shareholders.

Financial terms were not disclosed.