Mclean Delmo Bentleys expands into regional Victoria through deal

27 October 2023 3 min. read
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National accounting and consulting firm Mclean Delmo Bentleys has acquired Woodend-based boutique Riverwood.

The Melbourne branch of mid-tier accounting and consulting network Mclean Delmo Bentleys has expanded into regional Victoria with the addition of boutique advisory Riverwood Group, which has outlets in Woodend and Kilmore north of Melbourne.

The acquisition follows a capital injection from financial services investment firm AZ Next Generation Advisory earlier this year, with a view to accelerating growth through further bolt-on opportunities.

Mclean Delmo Bentleys expands into regional Victoria through deal

Established in 2004 in the town of Woodend roughly halfway between Bendigo and Melbourne, Riverwood has since grown to a team of around 15 advisors and administrative assistants, including directors Caroline Johnston, Ross Collier, and Paul Paikos. The firm’s clientele includes manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and primary producers, who will now benefit from an expanded suite of services under the Mclean Delmo Bentleys banner.

For Mclean Delmo Bentleys managing partner John Delmo the deal makes perfect sense, serving the firm’s desire to push beyond metropolitan Melbourne but doing so with an already established presence. “We think it is the ideal time to expand our footprint, particularly with the growth north of Melbourne from various infrastructure projects,” Delmo stated. “We expect communities such as Woodend and Kilmore will grow with the anticipated jobs.”

Delmo specifically cited the Beverage Intermodal Precinct developent, a slated freight and logistics hub to be built across 1,100 hectares of land north of Melbourne as part of the federal government’s inland rail project. Double the size of the country’s largest current hub, it is expected the precinct will support up to 20,000 jobs in the region, with its preliminary train terminal due for completion by 2025 and full operations scheduled to commence in 2028/29.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary last year, McLean Delmo Bentleys has engaged in plenty of M&A activity over the years, including previous tie-ups with the Hall Chadwick and UHY Haines Norton branches in Melbourne. The Hawthorn-based firm, which has a headcount pushing 100, joined the Bentley’s network in 2013, which currently sits just outside the top ten organisations of its kind in Australia ahead of Nexia and behind William Buck.

Further to its own acquisitions, McLean Delmo Bentleys earlier this year sold a ‘strategic stake’ of its business to AZ Next Generation Advisory, described as the investment firm’s largest purchase to date among some 130 transactions completed across Australia, including for a piece of fellow long-running Melbourne accounting and advisory Rose Partners.

Delmo said of the partnership: “The war for talent is making things very difficult for some accounting and advice businesses and many are looking for a partner with capacity and the ability to help them better serve their clients. Our size and scale puts us in a unique position, as we’re able to provide structure, systems and processes. With AZ Next Generation Advisory on board, we’re in an even stronger position to attract accounting, advice and wealth management businesses.”