Sudhir acquires Star Platforms
UK powered access rental company Star Platforms has been acquired by the Indian manufacturer and rental company Sudhir Power.
The deal is an all share transaction with owner managers Richard Miller, Steve Simmons and Bryan Freeman staying on board and continuing to run the business but under new ownership.
Star Platforms was established in Luton in October 2014
by Simmons, Freeman and Miller, although Miller did not officially come on board until the start of 2015. Today Star Platforms has a fleet of almost 2,000 units operating from five locations in the UK. Revenues last year were £15.15 million with a pre-tax profit of £2.1 million and gross assets of £19 million.
This is the second time round for Richard Miller after he founded Panther Platforms with ex-Instant Zip Up colleague Brian Fleckney around 20 years ago before selling the business to Lavendon in 2006
. Miller remained with the business, taking up a managerial role with Lavendon before leaving to set up Star in 2014.
Sudhir Power was established in 1973 as a power generation specialist and has expanded steadily since then. More recently it has added aerial work platform rentals to its portfolio, not only in India but also in the Middle East where it has operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. It has been looking at potential acquisitions in the UK access rental since the start of the year and is keen to become a leading player in the market.
Sudhir’s vice president international operations Fernando ‘Frank’ Bazo said: “We were looking for a high quality, well run independent powered access rental company to acquire in the UK and Star Platforms fitted the bill. I am delighted to welcome all Star Platforms employees into the Sudhir Power family of companies. Richard, Steve and Bryan will continue managing the day to day running of Star Platforms and are committed to further developing the Star Platforms brand. We will also explore the possibilities of adding further product lines to expand our offerings in the industrial and construction industry."
Richard Miller added: “When Sudhir approached us we carried out due diligence on them as a company and liked what their business represented. They are a quality company, a market leader in power generation, and bring with them a wealth of experience in asset rental to enhance our business. Myself, Steve and Bryan are very excited with what the future holds for Star Platforms and our team, and we look forward to expanding our offering whilst maintaining excellent service levels to our loyal customer base.”
This is probably a good move for the Star owners, in a market that has become increasingly competitive. Companies like Star are to some extent caught in the middle, between smaller, regional specialists like Elavation with its strong focus on hybrid and electric machines, and the big national players, including the growing general rental companies such as Boels. While Star has done exceptionally well, the rapid growth will have inevitably created a squeeze on working capital. The company may have needed to raise more funds in the new year or bring in an investor?
This transaction is far cleaner and gives the three relatively young - well not retirement age - individuals the chance to cash out on their hard work and yet continue to build the company, with an owner that understands the business and is keen to build a really strong presence in the UK.
The move is also a good one for Sudhir, it has chosen its takeover targets carefully and can see that the time is right to move into the market in terms of prices and a keenness on he part of many owners to sell, while they can. In Star they have a high quality operation with a great management team to spearhead further expansion.
Expect to see Star make a few ‘bolt on’ acquisitions over the next year or two and expand to become a truly national player.