Rutland Partners Invests in Woodall Nicholson Limited

Rutland Partners Invests in Woodall Nicholson Limited


Rutland Partners is pleased to announce that it has received FCA approval for the acquisition of the Woodall Nicholson Group of companies.  Contracts for the acquisition were exchanged last month for an undisclosed sum.

Woodall Nicholson is the UK market leader in the design and manufacture of specialist vehicles, targeting attractive niche markets with long-term growth prospects.

The company is known for its strong emphasis on quality and has built a cohesive value proposition through steady organic growth that encompasses three distinct vehicle divisions:

  • Buses (Mellor & Treka), where vehicles are differentiated by market-leading technology in ultra-low floor vehicles, lightweight structures, best in class economy and first to market electric vehicles;
  • Ceremonial (Coleman Milne & Binz International), where the business is known for its innovation and product range, including unique hybrid vehicles in the UK; and
  • Emergency Services “Blue Light” (VCS Ltd & CMSV), where the business is the UK market leader in vehicle conversion for front line emergency service and support vehicles fleets.


Like many UK businesses, Woodall Nicholson faces near term challenges in managing the impact of the Coronavirus.  The business has a strong management team and we will be working closely with them to ensure that we guide the business and its employees through the current market-wide disruption.

Notwithstanding the immediate Coronavirus related challenges, Woodall Nicholson represents an exciting opportunity for Rutland to invest in a scale UK business operating in sectors likely to be robust and the focus of long-term stability and investment.  It has a strong order book in all division, In addition, it has market leading brands and differentiated products across three divisions, each well positioned to take advantage of changing market dynamics, providing opportunities for continued market share growth through increased UK penetration and in selected international markets.

Rutland will be supporting CEO, Frank Barrett, and the incumbent management team to further develop the business, enhance its current operational capability and continue to develop new and innovative products.  Furthermore, Woodall Nicholson will be leveraging on a busy period of acquisitions to expand its use of specialist technologies both in the UK and internationally.

Woodall Nicholson represents the ninth investment from Rutland Fund III.  The team leading the transaction for Rutland was Andy Powell, Jason Birt and Will Southgate.

Andy Powell, Managing Partner at Rutland said: “We believe that with Rutland’s support Woodall Nicholson can implement its strategic plan and build on its already strong market position.  Together with Woodall Nicolson’s management team, we are confident that we will be a strong partner for the business.”

Frank Barrett, CEO at Woodall Nicholson, said: “Rutland is the perfect partner on the next stage of our journey.  This partnership allows us to continue the growth plans for the business, enabling further product development, investment and market expansion in line with our ambitions. Sustained investment in our own growth means we will remain agile and responsive when delivering best in class products and service to our customers.”

Brian Davidson, continuing Chairman of Woodall Nicholson Group, commented: “Since initial investment in 2013, and additional investment from BGF in 2016, Woodall Nicholson has seen more than four-fold growth.  This is an outstanding success story, not just for the investors but, for our people, our customers and the UK manufacturing sector.  With the acceleration of the company’s international expansion, electric vehicle developments and continued innovation in market leading products, the future growth potential is very exciting.  As a result, all incumbent shareholders have opted to co-invest alongside Rutland to be part of the Group’s next exciting stage of growth.”


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