Well-known businessmen complete buyout of manufacturer from private equity firm

Goole-based ambulance builder O&H Vehicle Technology has completed the management buy-out from current private-equity owners Endless LLP by managing director, Oliver North, with the support of well-known Yorkshire businessman, Ken Davy.

North and Davy – who is the chairman of listed firm SimplyBiz and rugby league club Huddersfield Giants – are no strangers to the emergency services market. They grew their previous company, firefighting equipment supplier North Fire, to market leader status prior to major acquisition of the company in 2014.

O&H has been owned by Leeds-based private equity company Endless LLP since 2016. Endless has provided O&H with essential financial support throughout the most challenging phase of the firm’s 32 years, making a significant investment in safeguarding the long-term future of a historic Yorkshire business.

In January 2019, Endless appointed Oliver North to lead the business into the next stage of its development.

Now, with every intention to challenge some of the world’s biggest manufacturers in the same field, O&H will do so with significant financial investment behind a tailor-made management team, with Davy assuming the role of chairman in support of managing director, North.

Sarah Turvey has also joined the new board, to drive operational and financial efficiency and sustainability.

North, also founder and former managing director of Huddersfield-based firefighting vehicle specialist Rosenbauer UK, said: “After being drafted in by Endless at the turn of the year, we knew the company needed new energy, direction, and deeper relationships in its key markets. After eight successful months, we’ve seen improvements in all aspects of the company and during this time I’ve grown to admire every facet of it.

“Not only do we employ well over a hundred skilled staff, but we build ambulances, one of the most essential and vital ‘tools’ for serving the public. The pride we feel in seeing O&H ambulances go out of the door is immense, which was one of the key factors in my decision to lead this MBO.”

O&H’s new chairman, Ken Davy, added: “Oliver has always impressed me with his energy and enthusiasm.  When he highlighted this new opportunity for us to work together on the MBO of O&H Vehicle Technology, I jumped at the chance. I am confident that his drive coupled with his absolute commitment to customer service and delivering quality products will enable us to develop O&H Vehicle Technology into a market leading British business.”

North added: “Ken came into my previous company as chairman and mentored me in aspects of business which I needed teaching, back in 2011. We became one of the most formidable teams in the emergency vehicle market and achieved some incredible things in partnership. There’s still plenty for me to glean from his world-class pedigree, which will be replicated in the level of quality I want O&H Vehicle Technology to be at.

“O&H Vehicle Technology now has a foundation to stride forward as the standard bearer of UK emergency vehicle manufacturing. I would also like to thank Endless for their support – without their dedication we wouldn’t have the foundation we have today on which we can build as we take the business forward.”

Endless LLP Partner, Matthew Jubb, said: “We invested into O&H at a time that nobody else would; the business urgently needed our support and we set about rescuing a great brand in UK manufacturing, protecting employment and making O&H fit for its future development. It is now time for the management team, with the support of the new shareholders, to take O&H on to an even greater success. I would like to thank Oliver and the rest of the team for their commitment to making O&H what it is today and wish them every success for the future.”

The purchasers were advised by Park Place Corporate Finance, Eversheds Sutherland and BDO. Management were advised by Womble Bond Dickinson. Endless was advised by Walker Morris.

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