Endless buys plant hire business to create £80m business

Essential Fleet Services, the specialist vehicle contract hire business owned jointly by private equity firm Endless and entrepreneur Andrew Cope, has bought Ibstock-based Go Plant for an undisclosed sum to create one of the UK’s largest providers of specialist and commercial vehicles.

The combination of Essential and Go Plant creates a group with sales of £80m, over 500 staff and 35 depots and service centres across the UK.

This is Cope’s twelfth major deal in the fleet sector and is the first acquisition by Essential since Endless acquired the company from Kier in July 2015. Endless installed the industry expert as executive chairman to lead the commercial strategy for the business and to identify opportunities for mergers and acquisitions in the sector.

Cope, who is a co-investor in Essential and who will lead the enlarged group, said: “This is a really exciting time for our new company, our people and our customers.

“Our combined business is now the UK leader in the provision of specialist and commercial vehicle contract hire, maintenance, rental and driver operated vehicles, delivering a consistent UK-wide service powered by our network of dedicated workshops and knowledgeable teams.

“The combination of Essential with Go Plant is strategically and geographically complementary, and we’re excited about the benefits we can bring to all of our customers through this transaction.

Essential Fleet Services is a provider of specialist vehicle contract hire, maintenance and rental services to both public and private sector clients. It works with many local authorities and a range of corporates in the utilities, highways, rail, construction and waste industries.

Leicestershire-based Go Plant is a provider of operated and self-drive road sweepers, refuse vehicles and other specialist equipment. It has a history dating back for more than four decades and has built a strong reputation and customer base mainly in the waste and construction industries.

Essential acquired Go Plant from the Davidsons Homes group, the Midlands-based construction firm owned by the David Wilson family of housebuilders.

Vaughan McLeod, chairman of Go Plant, said: “Having worked with the Wilson family for a number of years and with their strong support, we have been able to turn Go Plant into one of the largest and most successful providers of operated and self-drive specialist vehicles in the industry, and I am delighted that Essential has recognised this and this transaction creates a great opportunity for both companies to grow and deliver a wider range of vehicles and be a leader in this sector.”

Cope, who made his name building the Leeds-based lease hire giant Zenith, says he will also consider further acquisitions with the backing of Endless.

This is Endless’ latest investment from its £525m Fund IV. The transaction follows a busy first half of 2017 which has included the acquisitions of Jones Bootmaker, Carpet & Flooring and Affinity Workforce, together with the exits of Karro Food Group and Imtech.

The Endless deal team was led by Tom Jack and Matthew Jubb, supported by Kerry Battiscombe and Lee Abbott.

Essential and Endless were advised by Squire Patton Boggs (Jonathan Jones) and KPMG (Steven Heath).

The sellers were advised by Jones Day (Giles Elliot) and PwC (Ian Birch).

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