First Response Environmental Group

With turnaround complete, investment group ready to realize its investment.

First Response Environmental Group has been acquired by TRADEBE

Founded in 1994 and based in Nashville, Tennessee, First Response Environmental Group is a regional full-service environmental and industrial-services, and wastewater treatment company. The Company is a midsized regional firm with over 100 employees and four branch locations throughout Tennessee and Western Kentucky, providing clients throughout the southeastern U.S. with a one-stop solution for their environmental needs including remediation and environmental cleanup services, waste treatment and disposal services, and environmental consulting.

In late 2013, the owners of the Company acquired a Nashville-based wastewater-service company and began operating it as an affiliate of First Response under the brand name Clearwater Environmental. Through Clearwater, First Response provides its industrial and governmental clients with turnkey solutions for the transportation and processing of non-regulated wastewater.

Situation Overview

After a five-year turnaround, including two acquisitions, First Response’s ownership group was ready to realize their investment and find a new partner for management.

You guys did a fantastic job on First Response! We will definitely have more opportunities for you. – Steve Swartzman, Partner, C3 Capital

M&A Transaction Process

Vermillion crafted a compelling growth plan, aggressively normalized the company’s performance, and identified a diverse and attractive strategic buyer pool, which included several highly acquisitive international companies. Vermillion worked closely with First Response for several months to prepare the Company for sale before going to market. Vermillion advised First Response on several strategic initiatives and decisions, including:

  • Advised First Response on analyzing its financials to identify add-backs to EBITDA to ensure the owners were getting full credit with respect to valuation from buyers.
  • Vermillion marketed First Response’s Environmental Services and its Wastewater Treatment divisions individually and on a combined basis to ensure the ownership group realized maximum value for First Response.
  • Advised the Company’s management team on highly critical meetings with buyers and ensured they were prepared for all areas that buyers would be focused on.


Through a targeted marketing process, Vermillion spoke with 45 prospective strategic buyers and secured 7 first round bids. First Response Environmental Group was sold on a combined basis to Tradebe, a privately held Spain-based strategic buyer, at a 34% premium to the next highest Letter of Intent.

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