Swindon financial specialist helps client appoint directors

By Barrie Hudson - 24 August 2021

Business
  • Greswolde's Malcolm Priest with William Senior of Watersheds

    Greswolde's Malcolm Priest with William Senior of Watersheds

Corporate finance specialist Watersheds has helped a client in its search for two new senior figures.

  • From left: Malcolm Priest, William Senior, Perry Stewart and Shaun Walsh

    From left: Malcolm Priest, William Senior, Perry Stewart and Shaun Walsh

The Swindon firm was called in by Greswolde Construction Lts, a construction company which specialises in the education, healthcare, housing, commercial and industrial sectors and has an annual turnover of around £20m.

Its managing director has strengthened his senior team with two new directors.

In a deal led and executed by Watersheds, construction engineer Perry Stewart and chartered accountant Shaun Walsh have invested in the business, with ownership now shared between them and Malcolm Priest. Construction director Chris Harrison continues in that role.

Mr Priest said: “I want to see the business thrive. The covid-19 pandemic has been very challenging for the construction industry, however as we are waking up to face a new normal, I think it is the right time for me to step down and hand over some of my responsibilities to a highly experienced team who can meet those challenges so that Greswolde Construction has a strong and resilient future.

“It would have been far less work for Watersheds to find a competitor who wanted to buy us but that did not sit well with me. It would have led to redundancies. They understood that and worked hard to find a much better way forward.

“I have been talking to Watersheds off and on for several years about options. The fact that I am only now paying a success-based fee is pretty impressive.”

Despite the challenges of stringent restrictions associated with the pandemic, Watersheds, who acted for Malcolm Priest, negotiated the deal during the lockdown period.

Malcolm Priest purchased Greswolde Construction Ltd in 1995, but felt the business should be less dependent on him and that the time was right to build a larger, stronger senior team.   

Perry Stewart is an engineer with 40 years’ experience in construction, including 13 years as CEO of Immediate Property solutions and six years as MD of The House group, based in Gibraltar. Prior to that, Perry was project manager for Skanska’s construction and marine projects in Scandinavia, Denmark and Northern Germany in collaboration with Veidekke.

Shaun Walsh spent his early career at PWC, and has subsequently held the role of finance director in a variety of small and medium-sized companies across a number of different industries.

Perry and Shaun are building a group of construction-related companies which are mutually supportive as the IBG Group. This is their third investment.

Watersheds only charges fees at the point of success, a policy that has been in place ever since the business was founded 20 years ago.

Perry Stewart said that he and Shaun Walsh had growth plans for the firm, and that there would be no redundancies.

“We’ve bought into a fantastic company that has a great team, so the potential is immense,” he said.

“With such a great company and solid, talented colleagues, if we don’t double the turnover in five years I’ll eat my hat!” 

William Senior of Watersheds, who led on the transaction for Greswolde, said: “It’s pretty amazing that we completed this deal for Malcolm during the pandemic after many lockdowns, but it’s been a pleasure to work with someone who wanted to ensure the business is as resilient as possible and has a strong and sustainable future.

“Our approach was to find the individuals with the right skills, drive, experience and personality to give Malcolm and Greswolde the best possible outcome.

“We knew Malcolm required a blend of hard commercial skills and relevant industry experience, but equally needed people with similar values and aspirations, and who were passionate about the brand and the staff.

“When we found Perry Stewart and Shaun Walsh, we knew we had found two people who understood the true potential of the business, and who also had the industry-related experience to help achieve sustainable growth. 

"Malcolm can now relax, secure in the knowledge that the business is in the most capable of hands.”

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