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Vp on the block

UK rental group Vp owner of telehandler rental company UK Forks, low level access company MEP and general rental business Brandon Hire is up for sale.

The company is publicly owned but a controlling 50.26 percent of the equity is held by Ackers P Investment Company which in turn is controlled by Vp chairman Jeremy Pilkington.

The Vp board has said that having considered various options it has unanimously decided to investigate the sale of the entire company and has therefore launched a formal sale process for the business. As a result, the sale will be governed under ‘Formal sale process’ as defined in the UK’s Takeover Code which discussions from interested parties interested in making proposal to take place on a confidential basis.

Vp has also confirmed that it is not currently in discussions with any potential suitors and has not received any approaches.

The statement said: “The board intends to seek a buyer who will respect Vp's unique heritage, family culture and committed employee base, support its environmental and sustainability goals and commitments, and enable the Company to continue to prosper in the long term.”

Vp, or Vibroplant as it was originally known was founded in 1954 and went public in 1973. In the 1980s the company went on a massive acquisition and expansion spree in North America, as an early ‘consolidator’ but the effort nearly put an end to the business and it pulled back to the UK and has since built a solid growing business adding regular bolt on acquisitions, while keeping debt levels low. The current financial year to the end of March is likely to show revenues in the region of £360 million or more.

The company has appointed Rothschild & Co as financial adviser for the sale process. Parties with a possible interest in making a proposal should contact Rothschild & Co.

The statement announcing the sale also said:

“The company intends to conduct a targeted process, focused on those parties who understand and value the full potential of the company. Any interested party will be required to enter into a non-disclosure and standstill agreement with the company on terms satisfactory to the board and on the same terms, in all material respects, as any other interested parties, before being permitted to participate in the process. Following execution of the non-disclosure and standstill agreement, the Company intends to provide interested parties with certain information materials on the company. Following receipt of the information materials, interested parties shall be invited to submit proposals to the company. Further announcements regarding timings and procedures for the formal sale process will be made as appropriate.”

Jeremy Pilkington added: "Vp's controlling shareholder, a company connected to me, has decided that it wishes to diversify its investments. This does not in any way reflect a dissatisfaction with the company or its direction. Indeed, they are strongly supportive of management and highly satisfied by the continuing strong performance of the group. But they do have to take into account their current and future obligations to my family as a whole."

Chief executive Neil Stothard said: "Following the indication from the controlling shareholder that they would like to explore opportunities to dispose of their shares, the board thoroughly considered all strategic options in partnership with our advisers. In considering these options the Board, including Jeremy, has had regard to the interests of all the company's stakeholders. The board has unanimously concluded that it would be appropriate to investigate the sale of the Company and is therefore launching a formal sale process.”

"The board intends to seek a buyer who will respect our unique heritage and highly valued employee base, whilst supporting our longer-term growth ambitions and ensuring we continue to develop our business and maintain an environment whereby the business can continue to deliver long term, quality returns, to our shareholders."