Macquarie Capital Acquires 50% Stake In Environmental Monitoring Business Brüel & Kjær

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Macquarie Capital announced this week that it has acquired a 50% stake in environmental monitoring business Brüel & Kjær, a move which highlights the growing importance of such businesses in the wake of increasing environmental regulations, but also adds to Macquarie’s green efforts.

Macquarie Capital — which is the corporate advisory, capital markets, and principal investing arm of Macquarie Group — announced on Thursday that it had signed an agreement with Spectris plc to acquire a 50% stake in the company’s environmental monitoring business subsidiary EMS B&K (Brüel & Kjær).

EMS B&K is one of the world’s leading continuous environmental monitoring companies, and provides real-time compliance and improves the operational efficiency of companies subject to environmental constraints such as maximum sound, vibration, and dust levels — including issues such as noise monitoring at airports and wind farms, and dust, noise, and vibration monitoring at construction and mining sites. The company’s operations are headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, but span Europe, US, Latin America, and Asia.

According to Macquarie Capital, one of the things that attracted them to EMS B&K is the increased importance of environmental monitoring due to increased environmental regulation, greater public awareness, and urbanization. The technology is also improving, making continuous environmental monitoring a reliable and cost-effective solution that not only provides greater transparency for companies, but also provides valuable data which EMS B&K and its clients are able to use to optimize their operations within environmental constraints.

“We recognise the increasing importance of environmental monitoring for infrastructure projects, including those in which we are involved,” said Patrick Sieb, Executive Director at Macquarie Capital. “We spent some time examining industry players in this space. What impressed us most about EMS B&K was its strategic approach to working with clients to first understand their growth objectives and then create a compelling end-to-end solution for them. EMS B&K’s impressive blue chip global client list is a clear demonstration of the value they bring. Our aim is to use Macquarie’s significant reach across infrastructure markets to accelerate this growth.”

The move also comes following the Macquarie Group’s acquisition earlier this year of the Green Investment Bank from the UK Government for £2.3 billion. The importance is further contextualized after concerns raised this week by a report from the UK’s National Audit Office which showed Macquarie need only continue to contribute to green financing for a period of three years, after which all bets are off (so to speak). Assuming that this would be Macquarie’s intention is unnecessarily cynical, but Macquarie Group’s decision to invest in environmental monitoring may one day be heralded as yet another paving stone in the group’s environmental ambitions. Or it may simply be a good business move. Only time will tell.

“This investment is an integral part of Macquarie Capital’s focus on technology applying to infrastructure (InfraTech),” explained Daniel Wong, Global Co-Head of the Energy and Infrastructure group within Macquarie Capital. “This is a recognition that a number of technologies can now bring significant benefit in the construction, operation and maintenance of infrastructure assets. Macquarie looks to leverage its presence in the infrastructure sector and knowledge of technology to take a leading position in this space and we see this new venture with EMS as a first step into this fast growing market.”

“We are delighted to partner with Macquarie Capital,” added John O’Higgins, Spectris Chief Executive. “This joint venture creates a significant opportunity for us to collaborate on the industrial internet of things. We look forward to a successful working relationship with Macquarie Capital to deliver this.”

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Joshua S Hill

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