Business outsourcer swoops for £40m turnover logistics firm

IESA, a Warrington-based business process outsourcer, has bought a £40m turnover automotive and aerospace supply chain management firm for an undisclosed sum.

Gresham Private Equity-backed ISEA has acquired Stoke-on-Trent based Active Supply Holdings, which provides indirect supply chain management services to large manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace and energy industries.

Founded in 1999, Active’s customers include OEMs such as Michelin, Rolls-Royce, Siemens and Toyota. The firm enjoyed a record year in 2016 with revenue exceeding £40m.

IESA, which had revenues of £180m in 2016, provides integrated procurement (sourcing and buying indirect goods) and operations (inventory and stores management), delivered through a cloud-enabled technology platform.

Strong across the UK and Ireland, IESA launched a German operation in 2014 and is expanding elsewhere in Europe and beyond.

Glenn Timms, IESA chief executive said: “We have admired (Active) for some time, particularly with regard to its sector and OEM expertise.

“Since IESA’s inception in 2001 and particularly since our MBO in 2012, our disruptive indirect supply chain model and associated technology platform has been gaining increasing traction in the market place, both historically in the UK and Ireland, and more recently across Continental Europe and beyond.”

Richard Bennell, managing director, Active, said the company had had no plans to sell up but the IESA approach made sense.

“We’ve achieved massive growth in revenues since our management buyout in July 2014 and have recently set up a subsidiary in the Far East to take advantage of opportunities in those markets,” he said.

“We had no intention of selling Active, however, the case for merging Active into the IESA Group was convincing. There is such a great fit between our two businesses and the combined group will provide our clients with even more comprehensive and compelling solutions.”

The deal sees two of the three Active shareholders, Bennell and operations director Ian Whinray, become IESA shareholders and both have joined the IESA management team.

Active was advised by corporate finance advisers Strategic Corporate Finance (Andrew Coates and Marianne Martin), law firm Hill Dickinson (Ian Riggs and James Down) and accountancy firm DTE Group (Richard Taylor and George Lovell). Gunnercooke (Mark Whittaker) and KPMG (Umar Aziz) acted for IESA.