Jackson Lloyd bought by Mears

SKELMERSDALE-based housing maintenance company Jackson Lloyd has changed hands for the third time in under five years.

The company has been bought by Gloucester-based competitor MEars Group in a deal which could eventually be worth up to £5.8m.

Mears Group is paying £2.7m in cash for the company and assuming £2.1m worth of Jackson Lloyd’s debts. However, a further £1m of deferred consideration could eventually be paid out if the company hits its performance targets.

Founder Bill Lloyd initially sold a majority stake in the company to the Manchester office of Gersham Private Equity for £15m in 2006 as part of a deal that also included an additional £16m debt package being provided by Lloyds TSB.

However, the company ran into trouble as a result of a number of under-performing contracts and was quietly sold to London-based restructuring specialists MPC Partners in November 2007. The company employs 450 people and maintains around 30,000 homes – most of which are in the North West.

In the 15 months to March 31, the firm’s unaudited accounts show a loss before tax of £3.8m on turnover of £38.6m. However, it has an order book worth £80m and Mears said that it expects the company to be earnings-neutral by the end of this year and that the deal will enhance earnings by the end of 2011 – even after reorganisation costs of around £1m.

It said that the business has recently been restructured which had recduced its debt, which Mears would no pay off completely through its own banking facility.

Many of Jackson Lloyd’s operating functions will also now be absorbed by Mears.

“The acquisition of the JL business fits comfortably into our social housing division and broadens our footprint in the North West of England,” said Mears’ chairman, Bob Holt. “I am delighted to welcome a further 450 employees into the group.

“We continue to seek to acquire businesses with the potential to meet the strategic objectives of the group.”