Car retail giant swoops for fleet solutions business in £70m deal

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Car retail giant Cazoo has acquired Worcestershire-based SMH Fleet Solutions (SMH), one of the UK’s leading vehicle preparation, logistics and storage businesses, in a deal which values the company at around £70m.

SMH provides a full suite of vehicle management services including delivery, preparation, refurbishment, and remarketing to a broad range of blue-chip automotive manufacturers, rental and leasing specialists.

Following LDC’s investment in September 2018, the business invested in new technology to enhance operational efficiency, delivering faster and more flexible services to customers.

SMH has also expanded its ‘digital passport’ scheme, which enables de-fleeted and refurbished vehicles to be re-marketed by any operator, directly from one of the company’s sites.

Today, SMH processes more than 70,000 vehicles refurbishments annually from six vehicle preparation sites across 136 acres in Bedford, Gloucester, Throckmorton, Worcester and St Helens.

SMH also carries out over 150,000 vehicle movements per year with a team of over 300 delivery logistics specialists as well as operating an online wholesale platform for used cars.

The transaction will combine SMH’s market-leading infrastructure and expertise with Cazoo’s digital car retail platform and brand, doubling Cazoo’s vehicle reconditioning capability and storage capacity in the UK to 11 sites across more than 265 acres.

It also provides Cazoo with an experienced team of hundreds of additional vehicle preparation and logistics specialists and its own digital wholesale platform.

Tim Hudson, CEO at SMH Fleet Solutions, said: “LDC has helped SMH to build on our position as a leader in the UK vehicle management and logistics sector over the last three years. We are now well positioned to support Cazoo’s strategy to provide the best car buying and selling experience in the UK. Our teams across the UK are looking forward to continued growth under the Cazoo umbrella.”

Chris Handy, director at LDC in the Midlands, said: “SMH is fantastic example of a local Midlands business achieving its ambition to expand. It has continued to invest heavily in its infrastructure and technology so it’s no surprise it has attracted interest from a fast-growing multi-billion-dollar business. We wish Tim and the team all the best in the next stage of SMH’s journey.”

SMH and LDC were advised by NM Rothschild and Gateley Legal.

The deal follows Cazoo’s purchase in February of a Staffordshire vehicle reconditioning and storage firm.

Cold Meece-based Smart Fleet Solutions (SFS), which also has sites in Nottinghamshire, Wiltshire and Scotland, employs over 500 people and processes over 100,000 vehicles a year.

It also has storage for over 20,000 vehicles.

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