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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Total Capital Partners backs MBO of Walkers Transport

Total Capital Partners has backed an MBO of Walkers Transport, a leading UK based transport and logistics specialist. Total Capital is providing £13.5m of equity and debt, taking a 60% stake in the business. Based in the North of England and with logistics centres in Birstall, Leeds and Manchester, Walkers Transport carries ambient, non-hazardous, palletised goods for a range of manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. The company comprises George Walker Transport, George Walker Transport Manchester and Northern Hub.

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AMP Capital takes Leeds Bradford Airport under its wing

Leeds Bradford Airport has been sold by Bridgepoint to Australian investment firm AMP Capital. A mix of low-cost, charter and major international airlines operate at Leeds Bradford Airport, seeing four million customers pass through it each year. The airport benefits from a catchment area that contains 5.3 million people, 2.9 million of whom live less than one hour away. The airport has been under Bridgepoint’s ownership since 2007, when it was sold by five West Yorkshire councils in a privatisation plan. In the last five years, passenger numbers have grown by almost 40% to over four million, around £30m has been invested in capex projects including a terminal upgrade, employee numbers have more than doubled to 460 people, and EBITDA has grown by over 25% per annum.

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Hilton Food Group charts new waters with Seachill takeover

Meat packing business Hilton Food Group has ventured into fish with the £84m acquisition of Icelandic Group UK. Icelandic trades as Seachill and is a major supplier of chilled and frozen natural whitefish and salmon. Its brand The Saucy Fish Co. is the largest in its category in the UK. Icelandic generates annual sales of around £270m (around 80% of which comes from supplying Tesco).

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Wallwork Group expands up North with Metaltech acquisition

Wallwork Group is set to expand in the North East with its acquisition of Durham-based counterpart Metaltech. Both companies specialise in the thermal processing and coating of metals. The additional facility in the North East will allow Wallwork to provide a faster service to customers there and extend its transport service into Scotland, in turn providing room for growth at its Birmingham, Cambridge and Manchester sites.

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Marshalls acquires CPM Group

Marshalls has bought pre-cast manufacturer CPM Group, a specialist in underground water management solutions. CPM manufactures and sells a wide range of concrete pipes, containment chambers and other concrete infrastructure products. The company recorded a turnover of £51m in 2016 and employs approximately 350 people at its sites in Mells, Pollington and Somerset.

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BrightHouse to reimburse £14.8m to customers

The rent-to-own firm BrightHouse is to reimburse £14.8m to customers following the intervention of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA says that BrightHouse’s ‘lending application affordability assessment processes and collections processes did not always deliver good outcomes for customers particularly those who were at a higher risk of falling into financial difficulty’. Two groups of customers will receive reimbursements. The first group is those who did not receive a refund of their initial payments when an agreement was cancelled within the first 14 days. The second consists of customers whose circumstances were not assessed properly at the outset of the loan to determine whether they could afford it and may have had difficulty making payments. Customers who handed back the goods will be paid back the interest and fees charged under the agreement, plus compensatory interest of 8%. Customers who retained the goods will have their balances written off. BrightHouse will write to all affected customers, some of whom are affected by both sets of circumstances, to explain the refund or balance adjustment that they will receive.

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HomeServe expands in US with Dominion acquisition

Home repairs group HomeServe has acquired Dominion Products and Services, the home services unit of Dominion Energy. The £108m deal expands HomeServe’s presence in the US with an additional 500,000 customers across 16 states. This forms part of HomeServe’s medium-term target of marketing to 80m households in the US and getting 10% of those signed up to cover, building upon its acquisition of Utility Service Partners in Spring last year.

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Keywords Studios buys d3t for £3m

Keywords Studios has extended its engineering service line with the acquisition of d3t for £3m. Based in the North West, d3t provides quality outsourced software development services for video game developers and publishers around the world, such as recent clients SEGA, Sony XDev and the BBC.

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Emtek Services bought by The Cartwright Group

The Cartwright Group has acquired Altrincham-based aircraft ground support equipment (GSE) manufacturer Emtek Services. Cartwright is a leading trailer manufacturer and vehicle conversion specialist. It aims to continue expanding its product portfolio, including Emtek’s range, to create ‘a truly global brand.’ Cartwright has enjoyed significant growth in the last three years with the establishment of Cartwright Conversions, a specialist in ambulances, passenger transport service vehicles, police and security, welfare vans, and racking and mobility services.

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Equistone Partners invests in Inspired Thinking Group

Bridgepoint Development Capital has sold its stake in marketing technology and service business Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) to Equistone Partners. Equistone’s investment will be used to push into the US market, as well as accelerating growth throughout Europe. Since its establishment in 2009, ITG has become one of the UK’s largest full-service marketing providers to blue-chip companies. ITG’s marketing automation technology, Media Centre, is used by over 50 leading brands and retailers, including Audi, Heineken, KFC, M&S, Puma and Sainsbury’s.

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