Seneca backs Smart Storage growth

INDEPENDENT self storage company Smart Storage has announced expansion plans backed by funding of more than £2.5m from Seneca Partners.

The Liverpool-based firm has acquired new sites in Liverpool and in Altrincham, south Manchester, and is also launching a new concept at its Widnes site.

Haydock-based Seneca, which supported amanagement buyout from Bridges Ventures in May 2014, has  invested a further £2.65m to finance the acquisition and fit out of the two new sites.

Smart Storage currently has sites in Liverpool, Warrington, Widnes, Bromborough and Preston. The Altrincham and Liverpool acquisitions will be Smart Storage’s first new sites since Preston in 2008. The two new facilities will ultimately provide an extra 64,000 sqft of lettable space opening in early 2016.

In Widnes Smart Storage will open its first self-service drive-up storage unit.  Customers will be able to drive up to their dedicated storage unit, with the added benefit of hassle free loading and unloading.  

Chief executive Mike Wilson said: “We have more store locations on the horizon and we have ambitious growth plans.  Seneca share our vision and expansion strategy giving us the opportunity to develop the business to the next level to service the demands of both domestic and business customers.

“The self storage sector is still significantly underdeveloped in the UK and offers a variety of opportunities within the commercial and domestic markets to increase scale and profitability to outperform the market.
The new store location at Altrincham which will serve the south Manchester areas and the new facility at Liverpool will strengthen sales delivering to both domestic and commercial customers an incredible product. Our expansion demonstrates our belief that the economy is on the rise and the group is actively seeking new opportunities.”
Tim Murphy of Seneca Partners added: “When we first backed Mike and his team with the MBO, the strategy was always to use the business as a platform for growth. We have invested further in the people and have looked at several acquisition opportunities, which for a variety of reasons were not a good fit, mainly because they had too high a reliance on leasehold facilities.

“Consequently we have focused efforts on locating suitable “greenfield” freehold units that we can develop to our design. If we continue to grow as anticipated there is every possibility that an IPO will be considered during 2016.”  

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