Baird Capital agrees to sell industrial, commercial heating, cooling business Watkins Hire


weather-1216041_1920Baird Capital has exited industrial and commercial heating and cooling business Watkins Hire to trade buyer Carrier Rental Systems, three years after agreeing to buy the business.

The private equity firm made an initial £10.1m investment into the business through a management buy-in deal, led by CEO Paul O’Kelly.

Watkins, which was founded in 1998, supplies heaters, steam and water boilers, fuel tanks, dehumidifiers, air handlers, air conditioning and chillers.

The company also has a dedicated events division, providing equipment rental at events including the 2012 London Olympics.

Baird Capital partner James Benfield said, “It has been a great experience working with the Watkins management team and developing the company into an industry leading temperature control solutions provider.

“We have made considerable investment in Watkins’ operations and fleet over the course of our ownership, and leave the company with a strong team and well positioned for continued growth.”

Baird Capital and Watkins Hire were advised by Phillip McCreanor from Lincoln International and Catherine Eley from Eversheds.

The firm closed its fourth venture capital fund on $185m in 2014, when the venture capital market was beginning to ‘rise from the dead’, partner Aaron Rudberg told AltAssets at the time.

Baird Venture Capital Fund IV was oversubscribed despite only being launched at the beginning of 2014, with an initial target of $150m.

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