Ward Thomas makes three bolt-ons
Mobeus-backed Ward Thomas Group (“WTG”) has capped a six month period of strong corporate activity with the completion of three bolt-ons to facilitate its continued expansion outside of London and into the West of England. In addition to the three acquisitions, strong cash generation at WTG enabled the entirety of Mobeus’s loan stock to be repaid in January 2016, just 13 months after the original buyout.
The bolt-ons are envisaged to continue to increase the revenue, profitability and cash generation of WTG, all of which have shown strong growth, mostly organic, since Mobeus backed the £25m buyout of the business in December 2014.
The most recent two acquisitions were made over the last few weeks: Camp Hopson and Woods Removals is a removals business operating in Berkshire and Dorset established over 100 years ago, whilst Bath-based Thomas Firbank Removals and Johnsons of Shaftesbury serves Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. Last autumn, the firm also acquired WH Cox, a Surrey based business. Taken together these four businesses will be able to make better use of their warehouse, vehicle and labour resources.
Charles Rickards, Finance & Marketing Director of Ward Thomas, commented: “Strategically the three acquisitions help us to extend our geographic customer reach, whilst we can deploy our pre-existing removals infrastructure and expertise immediately to improve the bottom line. The acquisitions are helping to increase the size and profitability of WTG and we will remain highly acquisitive throughout the investment term”.
Richard Babington, the Mobeus Partner who led the original buyout of WTG and sits on its board, added: “Bolting on removal businesses to WTG was a key component of the strategy established at the time of the original buyout, so it is extremely satisfying to see this being executed so effectively by Charles and his team. We always knew that the investment would be cash-generative, and the speed at which WTG has paid down our original investment bears this out.”
Neil Giles at Quercus Corporate Finance LLP introduced Camp Hopson to WTG, whilst the acquisition of Thomas Firbank Removals was directly originated.