MBO tastes good for Airedale Group

THE team behind the management buyout of commercial kitchen and catering equipment company Airedale Group believes the deal will allow the business to become the UK market leader.

The Bradford-based business is one of the UK’s leading designers, builders and maintenance providers of commercial kitchens and completes hundreds of projects each year.

Established in 1986, the business boasts a client base including independent operators, local and national public bodies, contractors and FTSE 100 companies.

It employs 84 staff across four sites.

The management team, led by chief executive Rob Bywell, has acquired the business from its existing shareholders. 

The MBO team also includes finance director Malcolm Ritchie, sales director Ian Sisson, business development director Paul Woodford, and contracts director Michael Gordge.

Mr Bywell has been with the business since 2010, during which time it has increased turnover from £10m to £18m.

He said: “The MBO will enable us to achieve our vision of becoming the UK’s market leader by extending our geographic reach and providing our clients with a full spectrum of services across the entire catering environment.”

The deal was led by Baker Tilly Corporate Finance in Leeds and financed through equity and mezzanine investment by Rockpool Investments. RBS Corporate Transactions provided banking facilities. 

Jim Whittaker led Baker Tilly’s corporate finance team, with James McDonnell also advising on the deal.

Martin Sweeney of Schofield Sweeney acted as legal advisers to management and Jonathan Priestley of 3Volution advised the vendors. 

Gordons (Paddy Sturman) advised RBS Corporate Transactions with EMW (Simon Arkell) acting for Rockpool Investments. 

PKF (Mark Lister) and Clough Taxation Solutions (Paul Captieux) provided due diligence and tax advisory work respectively.
 
Mr Whittaker said: “The Airedale Group is on an exciting growth curve and we are delighted to have played a key role in its development. 

“During the last few years, the company has proven to be extremely resilient to market conditions and expanded aggressively through innovation and the provision of a quality service.”

Alan Armstrong, senior partner and head of private equity from Rockpool, said: “Airedale has an excellent team and we are extremely confident the company can continue to increase market share. We are delighted that we were chosen as the management team’s investment partner.”

Ricardo Laverty, director, corporate transactions at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “The management team has a proven track record and we are delighted to have been able to support them in taking ownership of the Airedale Group. There is a strong, clear strategy in place, and we look forward to a long-term relationship with the company.”