Electric Business

A brief summary of business news to keep you informed on company start-ups, corporate downsizing and mergers and acquisitions.

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Places for People Leisure purchases three Simply Gyms

Places for People Leisure has exchanged contracts to acquire three Simply Gyms in Chesterfield, Hinckley and Telford, to be run under the Places brand. Places for People Leisure is a social enterprise that works with local authorities to improve opportunities for communities to get physically active. Places for People is one of the largest leisure operators in the UK with a portfolio of over 100 facilities nationwide.

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Allianz-LV= deal creates UK’s third largest general insurer

Allianz has completed the acquisition of a 49% stake in Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society’s UK General Insurance business (LV= GI), with a further 20.9% stake lined up to change hands in 2019. Allianz has paid £500m for the inital 49%, with another £213m agreed for the second stage. The Allianz and LV= GI partnership creates the third-largest personal insurer in the UK market, with a large market share in personal home and motor insurance in particular. Altogether, the business will have over £1.7bn annual premium income. The companies hope to profit from the combination of their technical expertise in pricing, underwriting and claims, and accelerated innovation and growth as a result of the combination of their digital capabilities.

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Lakelovers given go-ahead on acquisitions drive following MBO

Private equity investor LDC has backed an MBO of Lakelovers, a provider of luxury holiday cottages in the Lake District. Headquartered in Windermere, Lakelovers manages more than 500 properties, providing an end-to-end property management service that includes marketing, maintenance and bookings support through a network of high-street branches. LDC will provide funds to launch an acquisitions drive in order to capitalise on growth in the UK ‘staycations’ market. CEO Paul Liddell has led the MBO.

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Shell agrees deal for residential energy supplier First Utility

In a move that could challenge the household energy Big Six, Shell has announced that is buying energy and broadband provider First Utility. Serving around 825,000 homes, First Utility has a 3% market share of the UK residential energy market. This deal builds upon a preexisting relationship: Shell supplies wholesale gas and electricity to First Utility, and in 2015 a licensing agreement between Shell Brands International and First Utility enabled them to operate in the German household energy sector under the Shell brand. Following this acquisition, Shell Energy Europe Limited would continue to supply wholesale gas and electricity to other energy retailers in the UK and Europe. The deal also includes First Utility’s German subsidiary, First Utility GmbH.

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Holdcroft Motor Group strengthens portfolio in Greater Manchester

Holdcroft Motor Group has added three more dealerships to its portfolio with the acquisitions of Oldham Hyundai, Oldham Mazda and Stockport Hyundai from Vantage Motor Group. The deal takes Holdcroft’s number of sites to a total of 25 and its turnover to £420m.

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Silverfleet Capital acquires Riviera Travel

European private equity investor Silverfleet Capital has acquired Riviera Travel. Established in Burton-on-Trent in 1984, Riviera offers a portfolio of escorted tours and cruises to 50 countries. The business focuses on the over-55s market and serves over 118,000 holidaymakers each year.

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Puratos seals sweet deal for Fruitapeel

Fruit and confectionery sauce manufacturer Fruitapeel has been bought by Belgian food producer Puratos. Based in Lancashire, Fruitapeel supplies ingredients to high profile brands across the retail and foodservice sectors, employing 70 people.

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Bournemouth Airport bought by Regional & City Airports

Regional & City Airports (RCA), the airports management division of Rigby Group, has completed the acquisition of Bournemouth Airport from Manchester Airports Group for an undisclosed sum. Bournemouth Airport currently offers flights to 22 destinations across Europe, with 700,000 passengers using the airport in 2016. A base for Ryanair and TUI, the airport supports 900 full time equivalent jobs and contributes approximately £24m to the local economy. This acquisition is the fourth of its kind for RCA, which also owns Norwich, Exeter and Coventry Airports. With the deal it grows its workforce to 600 people, and expands its catchment and network in the South of England as it bids to build a credible alternative to the major London airports. Day-to-day management of the 200 acre Aviation Business Park adjacent to the airport will be handled by Rigby Real Estate.

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Apollo Global Management invests in Haydock Finance

Private equity investor Apollo Global Management has agreed to buy a majority stake in Haydock Finance. The Blackburn-based asset finance provider offers hire purchase and finance lease funding to business customers in the UK. The existing management team, led by chairman Jon Wilkinson, managing director Steve Worrall and credit and risk director Ian Barr, will continue to run the business.

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IMI to buy US manufacturer for £148m

IMI plc has announced that it is buying Bimba for £148m, a market leading manufacturer of pneumatic, hydraulic and electric motion solutions. Bimba has an extensive distributor network that primarily serves the industrial automation market in North America. It will be integrated into IMI Precision Engineering, nearly doubling the size of the division.

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