Castle Square advise on the sale of Plantexpand to Private Equity firm, Foresight

Mid-market private equity firm, Foresight, has completed the acquisition of Plantexpand Ltd for an undisclosed sum, in a transaction in which the sellers were advised by Yorkshire based Corporate Finance Specialists, Castle Square Corporate Finance.

Essex based Plantexpand provide comprehensive plant and vehicle fleet maintenance and repair services to blue chip companies across the South East of England. Plantexpand count the likes of Thames Water, UK Power Networks, Cadent Gas, the AA, St Johns Ambulance and National Grid amongst its long-standing clients.

The Company has grown rapidly in the last five years, and its bespoke asset management software system allows the provision of a quality asset management services for business-critical vehicle and equipment servicing, repair and maintenance, predominantly for blue chip utility companies.

Foresight are a leading independent infrastructure and private equity investment manager with over £6.5 billion of assets under management. Investment Director David Turner, from the London office, Matt McLoughlin from Foresights Cambridge Office and Rob Jones from Foresight’s Manchester Office led on the Buyer’s acquisition process.

The sale to Foresight involves the management team taking an equity stake alongside the private equity funder, in a deal which will also see the injection of new management to help accelerate further growth plans of the business over the next few years.

The business was originally founded in 1980’s. Over the last 30 years the Family run business has been led by husband-and-wife team Paul and Kim Bibby. Since the early 1990’s Paul and Kim successfully oversaw the development Plantexpand from a small plant repair shop based in Wickford, Essex, into an integral supply partner for multiple blue chip utility companies across the South East of England.

Paul Bibby will remain actively involved in the business on a consultancy basis working with the new owners and Team to help deliver significant growth plans over the next few years.

Paul Bibby, said, “It is with great pride that we built Plantexpand Limited into the company that it is today in terms of scale and reputation within the industry that we serve. We took the decision to collaborate with Foresight Private Equity to allow for the growth required to move Plantexpand Limited into the national arena which we strongly believe it deserves given the philosophy that the company has been built on.

We would like to thank Castle square corporate finance for their assistance in making this happen and introducing Foresight Private Equity to ourselves. Kevan and his team have been very patient with ourselves and the team in taking us through a process that has been alien. I would also like to make a special thank you to Patrick Lynch who has personally guided us, it has to be said that for a young man he shows maturity beyond his years in this field and has shown myself that “a young dog can show an old dog new tricks “.

Yorkshire based dealmakers Castle Square Corporate Finance ran a sale process which involved approaching both potential trade and private equity buyers on behalf of the shareholders of Plantexpand, a process in which Foresight emerged as preferred bidder.

The Leeds office of law firm Mills Reeve, led by Partner Paul Johnson, provided legal services and advice to the shareholders of Plantexpand Limited.

Castle Square is an independent, specialist mid-market corporate finance boutique operating from offices in Sheffield and Leeds. Castle Square has a proven track record of successfully delivering corporate finances services on a wide range of clients based nationally and internationally.

Managing Director Kevan Shaw and Director Patrick Lynch from the Castle Square Team advised the Plantexpand shareholders on the transaction.

Patrick Lynch said, “Excellent to have supported Paul and Kim Bibby through the transaction that allows Foresight to acquire a controlling stake in Plantexpand whilst providing additional investment to assist the Management Team deliver on a growth business plan. Paul and Kim have created a fantastic platform, primed for substantial growth over the next few years”.

Mills & Reeve is a leading multi-disciplinary law firm operating from 6 offices throughout England provide expert legal advice to clients across the UK and also internationally.

Led by Corporate Partner Paul Johnson and supported by Associate Jack Bickler, the Mills Reeve corporate team provided legal advice and support to the Plantexpand shareholders on the transaction.

Paul Johnson said, “It is always great to be able to guide entrepreneurs like Paul and Kim through the process of successfully selling their business to Private Equity especially with the challenges of the last 6 months. It was great team effort between Castle Square, Foresight and the legal advisers to get the transaction completed.”

Bank funding to support the transaction was provided by Santander’s Growth Capital Structured Finance Team led by Director Tavia Sparks. Other advisors on the transaction were Birkett’s legal team and Grant Thornton transaction services, who provided legal advice and financial due diligence services to the Buyer.

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