PE-backed landscapes business unveils latest acquisition
A fast-growing Cheshire landscaping business has expanded its presence in the South West with the acquisition of a Wiltshire firm, for an undisclosed sum.
Mercia-backed Middlewich-based UK Landscapes, which maintains sites nationwide for blue-chip clients including Asda and Marks & Spencer, has acquired Cut N Clear (CNC) of Westbury, which holds a number of regional public sector contracts.
The deal will allow for the retirement of CNC’s owner Dave Gordon, who founded the business 20 years ago, and secure the jobs of all 12 staff.
The acquisition is the third in two years for UK Landscapes, and follows its purchase of Glasgow-based Euan Weir Landscaping in 2022 and Mid-Cheshire Maintenance of Northwich in 2021.
UK Landscapes was founded in 1997 by Andrew Preston and is now run by his son Leigh. It employs more than 200 staff throughout the country serving customers including Asda, John Lewis Partnership, Marks & Spencer, Aldi, Lidl, Shell, Santander and Thames Water.
The company has developed its own bespoke software platform, which drives efficiency and provides real time management information for clients.
The business received a significant investment from Mercia’s private equity funds in 2021.
Since then it has increased turnover by more than 30% a year to reach £16m and is on course to exceed £20m within the coming year.
In the past 12 months it has also entered a number of new markets through key contract wins, including the maintenance of 60 sites for care home operator St John’s Care Trust, 500 sites for Progress Housing and Grand Union Housing and 50 sites for Sussex and Surrey Police.
Managing director, Leigh Preston, said: “The acquisition of CNC will strengthen our footprint in and around the South West and integrate us into the local housing sector. With Mercia’s backing, we will continue our growth journey through a combination of acquisitions and organic growth whilst retaining our ‘family business’ ethos and continuing to directly employ 95% of our delivery team.
“We believe there is a real opportunity to disrupt the landscaping sector and create a sustainable and reliable operator offering consistently high levels of service. Our aim is to become the leading partner in the ‘green services’ sector.”
Alex Hirst, investment manager with Mercia, said: “UK Landscapes has been transformed from a family-run regional business to a national operator that is successfully competing with the big market players.
“Leigh and his team have done a great job in driving steady growth while maintaining their eye for detail and track record for strong customer service. UK Landscapes expects to move up the ladder and increase its market share to establish itself as a leading name within the industry.”