Bernhard energy services firm to be acquired by global investment fund

    Bernhard Capital Partners founder Jim Bernhard. (Don Kadair)

    DIF Capital Partners, a global infrastructure investment fund manager, today announced an agreement to acquire Bernhard LLC, the New Orleans-based energy services firm owned by Baton Rouge-based private equity firm Bernhard Capital Partners.

    Bernhard LLC, one of the major portfolio companies under the Bernhard Capital umbrella, has grown in recent years to become a leading energy-as-a-service, or EaaS, provider in the U.S.  

    In other words, Bernhard enters into long-term, turnkey contracts to upgrade, retrofit and service energy infrastructure for large, existing buildings with the goal of better efficiency and substantial energy savings.

    LSU is currently in the final stages of negotiating one of those contracts—a nearly $800 million, 30-year deal—under which Bernhard and its joint-venture partner will upgrade, retrofit and manage the energy system on the main LSU campus.

    Though there was no immediate word from LSU or Bernhard on how the DIF acquisition will affect the deal, nothing is expected to change, according to sources familiar with the situation. Bernhard’s existing leadership will stay in place, and DIF plans to build on Bernhard’s success, bringing it to new markets.

    “As Bernhard continues pushing to new heights in the EaaS market, we are excited to join forces with DIF Capital Partners given its extensive experience with Public-Private Partnerships, district energy, Energy-as-a-Service projects, and a shared commitment to efficiency, ESG and sustainability,” says Bernhard CEO Ed Tinsley in a prepared statement. “The future of Bernhard has never been brighter. Our track record proves we have the expertise and capabilities to push the industry to places it has never been before.”

    Bernhard senior management will retain a meaningful ownership position and continue leading Bernhard, according to the release.

    Bernhard Capital Partners, the private equity firm created by Jim Bernhard and Jeff Jenkins following the acquisition by CB&I of The Shaw Group, which Bernhard founded and ran for more than two decades, has raised more than $2.6 billion since 2016.

    The private equity firm’s model has been to invest, create and grow companies in the energy and infrastructure services sectors then eventually sell them or take them public.