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Weekly Briefing: May 15-19, 2023

Week of May 15, 2023

E.P.A. Announces Crackdown on Toxic Coal Ash from Landfills

  • The Biden administration plans to close a loophole exempting inactive coal ash landfills from groundwater protection rules due to concerns about toxic metal contamination.

  • The proposed regulation aims to monitor groundwater supplies and clean up any contamination from coal ash landfills, which have been linked to health effects and pose risks to waterways and drinking water supplies.

  • The rule is expected to protect low-income communities of color, where many of these landfills are located, as they have been disproportionately affected by pollution.

  • Opposition from utilities, fossil-fuel supporters, and Senator Joe Manchin III, who has financial ties to the coal industry, is anticipated.


PE Turns to Add-Ons with Large LBOs Out of Reach

  • Tasked with a challenging exit environment and a dwindling supply of affordable debt financing, PE managers are turning to add-on acquisitions -- smaller-sized target acquisitions made through existing portfolio companies -- to meet capital deployment mandates and keep portfolio company multiples afloat.

  • According to PitchBook's Q1 2023 US PE Breakdown, the average deal size shrank in Q4 2022 with the total PE deal count dropping to nearly half of what it was a year prior -- a product of the IPO drought, misalignment between buyers and sellers, and a dwindling supply of affordable leverage.

  • Add-ons are a useful mechanism for General Partners during tumultuous market environments because they add additional revenue and EBITDA to existing portfolio companies.

  • Last year, add-on deals reached historic levels with the total global PE add-on deal value reaching $759.6 billion. That was a slight decrease from 2021's outlying outperformance across all areas, but otherwise, it's the highest mark over the past decade, according to PitchBook data.


Overhauling Energy Permitting Is a Heavy Lift in Debt-Ceiling Talks

  • Bipartisan debt-ceiling talks could include provisions to ease the federal permitting process for energy projects, potentially resolving a longstanding policy issue and expediting construction.

  • Democrats and Republicans agree that the current permitting process is burdensome and time-consuming. They recognize the need for improved coordination among federal agencies and more efficient environmental reviews.

  • Differences remain, with Democrats emphasizing renewable energy projects and giving more authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while Republicans seek expedited approvals for oil and gas projects and stricter timelines for environmental reviews.

  • Senator Joe Manchin's bill attempts to find a middle ground, allowing lawsuits for lengthy reviews, imposing time limits on litigation, granting additional authority to FERC, and expediting permits for specific projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The White House supports Manchin's proposal.

May 15, 2023

True Environmental (True), a New York-based platform backed by Halle Capital focused on partnering with and growing businesses in the environmental services industry, has acquired Matrix New World (Matrix), a New Jersey-based provider of environmental consulting, engineering, and infrastructure solutions. Jayne Warne, Founder and President of Matrix, commented, "This partnership is a significant milestone in Matrix's continued evolution, supporting our vision of investing in our talented and dedicated people to better serve our clients."


May 15, 2023

Bowman Consulting Group Ltd. (Bowman), a Virginia-based engineering services firm delivering infrastructure solutions to customers who own, develop, and maintain the built environment, announced the purchase of Fisher Engineering, Inc. (Fisher), a Georgia-based professional services firm specializing in customized fire protection and life safety engineering for public and private customers across the United States and internationally. The firm provides an extensive array of technical services involving code consulting, commissioning, life safety survey and analysis, systems design, fire, smoke and egress modeling, performance-based design, litigation and forensic engineering, and third-party reviews. Gary Bowman, CEO of Bowman, said, “Fisher has built a great platform from which we can expand a national and international fire protection and life safety practice."


May 16, 2023

CPH Consulting, LLC (CPH), a Florida-based architecture and engineering design firm, signed an agreement to acquire ELEVEN18 Architecture (ELEVEN18), a Florida-based architecture and interior design firm specializing in retail, hospitality, senior living, self-storage, and entertainment / themed development projects. The partnership brings together the two firms’ architectural practices to expand CPH’s offerings and better serve its clients across new complementary markets. “Along with ELEVEN18’s excellent reputation with its clients, the value they place in their employees and its culture aligns with CPH, which makes them a great fit,” said CPH President Peter-John F. Sutch, P.E., LEED AP. "CPH is a company that is like-minded in how they value their employees, are growth oriented, and passionately serve their clients. We knew they would be the right partner to accelerate our growth, provide enhanced services for our clients, and provide greater opportunities for our employees,” said Kim Day McCann, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP—Founding Partner of ELEVEN18.


May 16, 2023

Engineering Economics, Inc. (EEI), a Colorado-based facility consulting firm specializing in performance improvements for building environmental systems, has acquired Rivion, LLC (Rivion), a Wisconsin-based energy and sustainability assessment firm that helps clients reduce operating costs, decarbonize, increase asset value, and create healthy environments. Rivion performs energy benchmarking and modeling, sustainable building certifications, and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) program development. The partnership will allow EEI and Rivion to proactively help their clients meet energy and carbon-reduction goals, whether identifying pathways to Net Zero, renewable energy, and/or electrification.


May 17, 2023

Bowman Consulting Group Ltd. (Bowman), a Virginia-based engineering services firm delivering infrastructure solutions to customers who own, develop, and maintain the built environment, announced the purchase of Hole Montes, Inc. (Hole Montes), a Florida-based engineering services firm offering an extensive portfolio of infrastructure planning services. Founded in 1966, Hole Montes provides comprehensive design, survey, GIS, and construction management expertise to customers focused on environmental engineering, transportation infrastructure, airport facilities, stormwater and wastewater systems, land planning, landscape architecture, and more. “Hole Montes is a well-respected firm with a long-established presence in Southwest Florida,” said Gary Bowman, CEO of Bowman. “Working with Bowman during the diligence and pre-integration period has given us tremendous comfort that this is the right next step for our leadership, our employees and our customers,” said Bob Mulhere, CEO of Hole Montes.

Kimley-Horn's Twin Cities office recently hosted Diverse Daisies, a nonprofit organization that focuses on empowering girls through various opportunities and activities. The objective of the event was to provide insights into the engineering field and demonstrate potential career paths to the participants. Under the guidance of experienced professionals, the girls actively engaged in constructing engineered tunnels, exploring environmental considerations, devising traffic management strategies, and resolving community-related challenges.


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