Specialist equipment firm snapped up in multimillion-pound deal

A firm which specialises in access platforms has been acquired by Newton-le-Willows based Speedy Hire for £9.6m.

The tools, equipment and plant hire services company, has acquired Yorkshire based powered access specialist Lifterz Holdings.

Lifterz has its head office in Ossett. Managed by Malcolm and Ben Bowers, the firm has a fleet of 1,300 access platforms and employs 90 people.

The firm’s unaudited revenue for the 12 months ended 31 January 2019 was £15.2m and gross assets were £17.2m. Speedy said that the cash consideration paid was £9.6m, with net debt of £11.9m, which was settled at completion.

Russell Down, chief executive of Speedy, said: “The acquisition of Lifterz announced today is strategically important giving us a national powered access offering and enabling us to provide an end to end service to our customers right across the UK.

“I am delighted to welcome Malcolm, Ben and the whole Lifterz team to Speedy.

“We are also pleased to report that full year revenues and profits will be ahead of the prior year and our results will be in line with expectations.”

Speedy said the acquisition complemented its previous powered access acquisitions, creating a comprehensive national presence which will allow the company to service customers nationally with larger specialist equipment.

The group expects to benefit from revenue synergies through the provision of a national offering to major customers from its owned fleet of equipment. 

It said that cost synergies will be realised from the operation of a national powered access business through Speedy’s national depot network. 

Since November 2017, the group has invested over £50m in the powered access market in line with its strategy to build a national presence through in-fill acquisitions and organic capital expenditure.

The acquisition will provide it with a comprehensive national presence in this sector.

In a trading update, Speedy said its revenues for the period to 31 March 2019 excluding disposals, are anticipated to be  5.5% ahead of the prior year, with services revenues growing by circa 9%.

Equipment utilisation rates have continued to increase in the UK and Ireland and are circa 57% for the year to date.

Geason Training, which was acquired in December 2018, is performing in line with expectations. 

Adjusted profit before tax for the full year will be ahead of the prior year and in line with the board’s previous expectations.

Exceptional costs in the second half of the year are expected to be approximately £2m, as a result of integration costs and professional fees associated with acquisitions, and depot restructuring costs.

Net debt at 31 March 2019 is expected to be approximately £90m (31 March 2018: £69.4m) after expenditure of £31m on acquisitions in the second half of the year.

The group’s full year results are due to be announced on 15 May.

Grant Thornton’s Northern Corporate Finance team advised the vendors of Lifterz. Addleshaw Goddard (Manchester) provided legal advice to Speedy.

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