Baldwins deadline passes
Joint administrative receivers Michael Gercke and Robert Birchall of Pricewaterhouse Coopers are believed to have now received at least three offers for Baldwins Industrial Services. One of the most prominent offers is from a management buyout team headed up by a trio of senior managers, namely Rick Barnett, Grant Mitchell and Bruce Norridge. Two other offers are understood to have been received but the receivers declined to take calls on this matter.
Pricewaterhouse had asked for offers to be submitted by 17.00 on Tuesday 19th and had made clear their strong preference for bids encompassing the entire company. It is, however, likely that at least one of the offers is a so-called “back-to-back” offer in which two or more companies bid for the entire group but with the intention of immediately breaking it into smaller units.
Lorna Siddal, spokesperson for Pricewaterhouse Coopers, declined to make any specific comment on Baldwins and said: “We would not discuss any potential buyers or timetable” but added that “any interested partner reading this should contact us as soon as possible”.
Companies that are likely to have made a bid for Baldwins include Ainscough and Mammoet/Van Seumeren. Frans van Seumeren has made no secret of the fact that he would like to grow his company by acquiring a very large rental company outside the Netherlands while Ainscough would see the purchase as an opportunity to complete the rationalisation of the market that was started when it bought the GWS fleet. Both companies would be likely to operate with partners that might be interested in specific parts of the Baldwins group.
Whoever does purchase the company will have to contend with almost £100 million of debt and the fact that many of the mobile cranes are leased or "on approval" rather than directly owned by Baldwins. Finance companies have already reduced the size of the Baldwins fleet through gradual re-possession and an important meeting is scheduled for this Monday between the administrators’ preferred bidders and the finance houses.
Also included in the sale is the Delta tower cranes operation, (which currently has the Terex tower cranes dealership); Baldwins’ loss-making US operation; and a number of crawler cranes. Phillips, the US subsidiary, filed for Chapter 11 protection in advance of Baldwins going into receivership and it is unclear whether bidders are including it in their plans.
* Baldwins’ Loadtite business has already been sold to Brandon Hire which outbid an offer from a management buyout team.
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