RCF sells Ausenco for US$578m

Staff reporter

US consortium buys engineering firm

Australian private equity firm Resource Capital Funds has sold one of the world’s largest privately-owned mining engineering firms to US investment groups for circa-US$578 million.

The A$900 million exit price for RCF compares with the $150m it paid for Ausenco, an Australia-based company that has built a large presence in the Americas over the past decade, in 2014.

US-headquartered Eldridge, Brightstar Capital Partners and Claure Group (an investor in Brightstar) have acquired Ausenco. The deal is expected to close in late 2023.

As reported in InvestMETS.com last year, Ausenco is a cA$1 billion-a-year engineering group focused on mining and infrastructure.

It has won and completed a number of copper concentrator and other metal plant construction contracts in recent years, more than doubling its workforce to about 3000 people since 2016.

Claure Group CEO and founder Marcelo Claure, who is joining Ausenco’s board, said: “With the shift to more sustainable energy gaining momentum, Latin America will have a key role to play as the main producing region for essential minerals, such as copper and lithium.

“Given Ausenco’s strong presence and pipeline of projects in the region, we believe the company will be at the forefront of this transition, actively contributing to the electrification of the world.”

Claure was formerly CEO of SoftBank Group International and headed the group’s US$5 billion SoftBank Latin America Fund. He was also previously executive chairman of WeWork and in the middle of this year launched Bicycle Capital, a Latin America-focused venture capital fund.

Ausenco co-founder Zimi Meka is staying on as CEO.

Former AECOM CEO Mike Burke, who advised Eldridge and the buyer consortium, will become Ausenco’s chair.

“We’ve always been about challenging what’s possible and delivering services sustainably and with integrity,” Meka said.

“From permitting to closure, our people are finding better ways to plan projects, efficiently use resources, protect the environment, and deliver value to clients and communities. In Eldridge, Brightstar, and Claure Group we have partners that understand this ambition and our culture.”

Brightstar CEO Andrew Weinberg said Ausenco was helping facilitate the “global transition to electrification and electric vehicles”.

“Brightstar is confident that Ausenco is strategically positioned for future growth due to its impressive track record of performance, and the anticipated increased demand for metals and minerals that are essential to sustainable solutions.”

RCF head of private equity Martin Valdes said Ausenco was well-prepared to embark on its next phase of growth.


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