AEI’s Enercon offers one-stop shop for environmental consulting services

Enercon recently bought Ardent, marking its first add-on acquisition since AEI acquired Enercon in 2021.

Enercon, an engineering and environmental services firm backed by AE Industrial Partners, announced earlier this month the acquisition of Ardent Environmental Group, a provider of environmental site assessments, remediation, monitoring and other services. To learn more, PE Hub spoke with Bryan McElwee, a principal at the Boca Raton, Florida, PE firm.

“The environmental consulting market presents an extremely attractive investment opportunity,” McElwee said. The market is highly fragmented, with service providers segmented by both geography and area of expertise. “Those companies that can establish themselves as a consolidator, offering customers a one-stop shop for services, will have a significant advantage, especially among large blue-chip clients,” he noted.

Renewable energy, data centers and electric vehicle infrastructure are among the sectors ripe for these services, McElwee said. Growth in these sectors is largely underpinned by advancing technology, growing bandwidth consumption and federal infrastructure mandates.

Headquartered in Kennesaw, Georgia, Enercon operates from multiple locations in different states. In its environmental services arm, the company offers due diligence and site assessment for real estate, air quality services through its industrial hygienists and air quality technicians, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), geoscience and remediation services, and radiology services within the nuclear power industry, such as decommissioning and radiological waste management.

Ardent is the first add-on acquisition for Enercon since AEI acquired Enercon in 2021.

McElwee described the Ardent deal as highly complementary to what the PE firm is seeking to achieve.

“As a firm, AEI has a long history of investing in highly technical target markets with high barriers to entry, and environmental consulting services fits perfectly into our investment strategy,” he said.

McElwee said Ardent’s team has optimized the process of gathering, analyzing and presenting data and has been providing trusted assessments and recommendations to both end customers and government/regulatory bodies. He said this deal will give Enercon additional geographic presence in the West Coast, as Ardent is based in Corona, California.

AEI also sees growth in inorganic opportunities, McElwee added, saying AEI is targeting assets with strong historical and go-forward organic growth that are supported by strong operating margins and low capital-expenditure needs.