Triple Acquisition by Rutland

Triple Acquisition by Rutland

Rutland Partners is pleased to announce that on 31 May 2013 it agreed and completed the simultaneous acquisitions of AFI-Uplift in the UK, Access Rental Gulf in the Middle East and Hi-Reach in the UK, for a combined enterprise value of circa £85 million.

AFI-Uplift (“AFI”), owned by its management team and Equistone, is a leading provider of powered access equipment rental with 3,700 machines operating from 18 depots across the UK. AFI also provides complementary services including the provision of safety related training and the resale of ex fleet and third party sourced machines. Access Rental Gulf (“ARG”), based in the United Arab Emirates, is owned by its management team and is a leading powered access equipment rental business in the Middle East with a fleet of 400 machines. Hi-Reach is a privately owned, UK based powered access equipment rental business with eight depots and a rental fleet of 1,500 machines.

Rutland is investing alongside AFI Chairman David Shipman and the management team. David currently leads the teams in both AFI and ARG and will remain as Executive Chairman of the enlarged operating group.

The transaction cements AFI’s position as a leading operator in the UK powered access rental market, and creates an enlarged group that will be well placed for further growth. Bringing ARG into the group will also include the Middle East business under a common ownership structure with AFI for the first time, and enables clear fleet utilisation opportunities to move surplus UK assets across to the higher growth Middle East market.

GE Capital has provided a comprehensive £50 million five year revolving asset based lending facility, with Rutland’s total equity investment post finalisation of completion arrangements expected to be circa £32 million for a majority holding. The management team is reinvesting the majority of their existing interests into the enlarged group.
Oliver Jones, Partner of Rutland, said:

“This complex and simultaneous combination of three businesses, and their planned integration and development, is a prime example of a Rutland deal. We are excited about working with David and his team in the months and years ahead to help maximise the opportunities for the enlarged AFI group. We are also grateful for all of the hard work put in over many months by all of the advisers on this transaction, and we look forward to working with AFI’s team to take the business forward into its next phase of development.”
David Shipman, AFI Chairman, said:

“Rutland has been the catalyst for making this deal happen and with their support we look forward to driving all of our UK and Middle East businesses further forward in the months and years ahead. We are all tremendously excited by the opportunities that an enlarged AFI group creates for all of our key stake holders…. customers, suppliers and, of course, most importantly, our loyal and hard working team.”
Adam Johnson, Managing Director of Corporate and Structured Finance at GE Capital said:

“This was a deal which Rutland required an early line of sight on available financing options, a partner with experience in the equipment leasing sector and with a jurisdictional presence in UK and the Middle East. We were delighted to be able to facilitate this complex transaction in partnership with Rutland, its advisers and the AFI management team, ultimately delivering an appropriate capital and financing structure to support the future aspirations of the business.”

AFI is the ninth investment from Rutland Fund II (£320 million) and follows on the back of a busy 2012 for Rutland with investments in Pizza Hut Restaurants UK, Buy As You View, a bolt-on acquisition to LIG, as well as the successful sales of Advantage Healthcare and NoteMachine from Fund I, and Pulse Home Products and Attends Healthcare from Fund II.

The transaction was led on behalf of Rutland by Oliver Jones, David Wardrop and Kajen Mohanadas with support from Nick Morrill.


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