Aviation firm changes hands in multimillion-pound MBO deal

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A multimillion-pound management buyout has seen control change hands at Greater Manchester-based Aeroco Group.

The Stockport company, which specialises in the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of aircraft cabin and cargo components, has been acquired by chief executive Jonathan Bird, and managing director Tony Lewin, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which comprises Aeroco Group Holdings and its subsidiary companies including Aeroco Group International, Aeroco Aircraft Engineering, and Aerograph, was funded by Birmingham-based Frontier Development Capital, £100m Debt Fund.

Led by the new management owners and supported by its existing team, Aeroco Group will look to continue the growth it has achieved in previous years as well as diversifying its capabilities with new products through its Part 21 manufacturing division and its Part 145 maintenance repair provisions.

With a new state-of-the-art 40,000 sq ft facility in Stockport, Aeroco Group will service new and existing customers throughout Europe, America, the Middle East and Far East.

As part of the change of ownership, original founder William Sheil will exit the business, having left a strong foundation for the MBO team to build on.

Tony Lewin said: “Having performed strongly throughout the pandemic, and with new opportunities on the horizon, this is the perfect time to take control of the company to implement our future vision after working together for many years alongside the previous owner.

“We look forward to the future of Aeroco, whilst also wishing Mr Sheil well in his retirement.”

Jonathan Bird said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have completed what has been a long process within a challenging environment and economic climate.

“We look forward to the start of a new and exciting journey to provide more of the same, with some new and welcomed opportunities in the coming months.

“I would also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation of the hard work carried out by the Aeroco team, and express gratitude and goodwill to the departing Mr Sheil, whilst congratulating him on his life-time’s work. We wish him the very best.”

FDC is a provider of regional debt funding, dedicated to supporting established SMEs through flexible long-term debt investment.

Ondrej Okeke, investment director at Frontier Development Capital, said: “Aeroco is a thriving UK SME, which is very well placed for continued growth under the experienced stewardship of Jonathan, Tony and their energetic and highly service-driven team of technicians.

“We have been very impressed by the professionalism and innovative approach of the Aeroco team, and we believe they are well positioned in terms of deep industry knowledge and its expanded manufacturing infrastructure to take the business to the next stage of its development.”

Legal advice for the transaction was provided by Butcher & Barlow, for the MBO team, Squire Patton Boggs UK, for FDC, and Gorvins, vendor shareholder.