Bernhard Capital Partners acquires three companies to create major new project management firm

    Baton Rouge-based private equity firm Bernhard Capital Partners is continuing its aggressive growth strategy with the acquisition of three companies specializing in construction and program management for major infrastructure projects.

    The companies being acquired are Georgia-based Moreland Altobelli Associates, Texas-based Pavetex Engineering, and Engineering Testing Services of California.

    BCP will combine the three companies to form Atlas Technical Consultants, which will become one of the top five private, independent project delivery firms in the U.S., according to BCP Partner Jeff Jenkins. The new company will have more than 30 offices in 11 states and more than 1,000 employees, with major offices in Atlanta, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Salt Lake City, Boise, Portland and Honolulu.

    With the creation of Atlas, BCP expands the realm of sectors in which its six portfolio companies operate. Jenkins, who co-founded the PE firm with Jim Bernhard four years ago, says the idea behind creating Atlas is to take advantage of the major spending on transportation infrastructure projects currently in the planning stages or under way in large states like Texas, California and Georgia.

    “We’re focused on the states where they’re spending a lot of money,” he says. “Thirty states have increased the gasoline tax, so we’re focused on areas where people want significant improvements on infrastructure.”

    The deal has been in the works for more than a year and closed in three separate transactions over the past month. Financial terms of the acquisitions were not disclosed.  

    The three companies that comprise Atlas have all been in existence since the 1980s. Each was a regional player in its respective area. Revenue figures for the companies were not available.

    Atlas becomes one of the six major portfolio companies owned in whole or in part by BCP. The others include: Bernhard, which specializes in energy services; Brown and Root, which specializes in industrial construction; Epic Piping, a pipe fabrication facility; ATC, an environmental consulting firm; and Charah, which provides services to power companies. BCP acquired Charah early this year in a deal that was not publicly announced.

    Together, the six portfolio companies have more than 16,000 employees.

    BCP has amassed its portfolio with some $750 million it raised with its maiden Energy Services Fund. A second fund, Bernhard Industrial Services Fund II, debuted early this year with a target of $1 billion, some $700 million of which had already been raised by September.

    —Stephanie Riegel