Stonewood Group acquires DataGuard NZ – incorporates hi-tech ‘future energy’ capabilities into RCR’s national infrastructure service offering
Two years since purchasing RCR’s profitable New Zealand operation from the failing Australian parent company RCR Tomlinson, Stonewood Group co-founders John and Michael Chow are expanding RCR’s services to include future-tech engineering solutions such as EV chargers, smart building solutions and commercial solar installations, as well as smart grid and AI solutions.
The transition of RCR into one of New Zealand’s biggest maintenance, electrical and mechanical engineering companies is being achieved through Stonewood Group’s purchase of DataGuard NZ’s engineering and technical know-how.
DataGuard has traditionally provided datacentres with a focus on uninterruptable power supply-based (UPS) hardware. However under RCR, its market-leading technical knowledge will be applied to sourcing and importing hi-tech products that will be installed and maintained by RCR’s nationwide network of technical experts. RCR currently provides heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) as well as refrigeration, electrical and building management systems via offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.
The merger of complementary expertise will also see RCR extend its reach beyond existing commercial clients into the residential housing sector, where a growing range of green, future-tech energy solutions are increasingly becoming available. These are suited in particular to intelligent ‘smart’ homes requiring comprehensive automation control.
“DataGuard was one of the first companies in New Zealand to use lithium batteries on a grand scale,” says RCR executive director Garry Ko, “so incorporating their expertise opens RCR up to the rapidly advancing world battery market – from domestic solar applications through to large-scale industrial Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). Their engineering knowledge of the world global battery sector alone is unparalleled in this country – after all, data centres are always the smartest part of any building.
“This is a very strategic marriage of DataGuard’s technical insight with RCR’s hands-on ability to apply the technology on a national scale. Our goal is for RCR to be New Zealand’s most future- focused engineering tech firms, and a one-stop shop for the residential and commercial sector.”
Ko says a tangible example is how EV installers typically aren’t importers. “So RCR will now be able to do both – identifying and importing the best units in the world, then installing and maintaining them.”
He foresees exponential growth in the EV charger market in particular, citing Government policy statements that will end petrol-fuelled car imports by 2030. This translates into a requirement of New Zealand to by then have installed an estimated 1 million EV chargers.
The existing owners of DataGuard, Paul Jefferies and Peter Evans, see many mutual benefits of being part of a larger entity.
“RCR will give DataGuard the ability to improve sales and services nationwide, and provide long-term supply and support security to our loyal customers,” says DataGuard co-founder and managing director Paul Jeffries.
Stonewood Group co-founder and managing director, John Chow says he’s had a long-held vision for RCR to be the country’s leading provider of fully integrated engineering solutions.
“It’s been very clear to us where the market is heading in the home and commercial technology space and DataGuard significantly expands RCR’s technical service offering.”
He confirmed that the existing staff will be joining RCR.
“Unlike many of the acquisitions we’re known for, DataGuard NZ was not a distressed asset and we’ve been in negotiations with them for the past two years. The company had the know-how but not the size and national reach that RCR does, so it’s been exciting to be able to complete the deal.”
Garry Ko says RCR staff numbers are up more than 50 percent to 120 since Stonewood Group purchased the business in early 2019. John and Michael Chow took an 88 percent shareholding, with RCR management team owning the balance.