Riverside acquires Safety First as an add-on

The Riverside Company has acquired Safety First Contracting as an add-on for its Area Wide Protective platform. No financial terms were disclosed. Kirkland & Ellis advised Riverside on the transaction. Based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Safety First is a provider of traffic management solutions for utilities, utility contractors and telecommunication companies.


The Riverside Company has made another add-on to its Area Wide Protective (AWP) platform. Safety First Contracting marks AWP’s first Canadian and international addition.

Based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Safety First provides outsourced traffic management solutions from eight facilities across Atlantic Canada. Much like AWP, its services are focused on traffic management for utilities, utility contractors and telecommunication companies, among other customer types. Safety First also provides traffic control equipment sales and safety training courses for its employees.

AWP provides temporary traffic management via more than 60 facilities across 20 states, employing more than 3,000 protectors. Since investing in AWP in 2015, Riverside has helped the company rapidly expand geographically and in capability through six add-on acquisitions.

“Safety First serves a similar client base to AWP,” said Riverside Managing Partner Suzy Kriscunas. “More than just a good strategic fit, Safety First is a great company with a strong history of meeting the needs of an array of clients across Atlantic Canada.”

The addition of a Canadian company continues a strategy of geographic expansion for AWP, said Riverside Principal Ryan Richards.
“AWP now covers most of the Atlantic coast and offers services in 20 states and Canada,” said Richards. “We are excited about continuing to build this exceptional company that provides services that protect lives.”

Working with Kriscunas and Richards on the transaction for Riverside were Operating Partner Tom Anderson, Senior Associate Connor Danielowski, and Associate Ming Yau. Riverside Partner Anne Hayes helped secure financing for the firm. Regional Director Cheryl Strom and Principal Jim Butterfield sourced the deal for Riverside.

AWP is supported by the bank group consisting of Antares Capital, Madison Capital, MidCap Financial, NewStar Financial, Ares Capital Management, Churchill Asset Management, Siemens Financial, and Ally Financial. Kirkland & Ellis advised Riverside on the transaction.

About The Riverside Company
The Riverside Company is a global private equity firm focused on making control and non-control investments in growing businesses valued at up to $400 million. Since its founding in 1988, Riverside has invested in more than 520 transactions. The firm’s international portfolio includes more than 80 companies.