UK group Heathcote Holdings/ FGS Plant Hire has acquired general Coventry based rental company Clements Plant & Access Hire.
The deal is effective today, and sees Clements chairman and owner Jim Longstaff leave the business, to be replaced by Stuart Willy, who also assumes the position of managing director, while the current managing director Adrian Hutchinson will continue running the day to day business of the company as a director. There are no changes to any other staff, all of whom will remain with the company.
FGS Plant which previously acquired Dorset based Hire Access Platforms from Phil Ainsworth and Dave Solomon, is the construction and general equipment sales and rental division of Kent based Heathcote Holdings which operates in the agricultural market and environmental market through a number of companies, including:
-FGS Industrial Facilities Management
-Hire Access Platforms
Revenues in the year through April 2022 were £126.8 million, with a pre-tax profit of £24.9 million. The comapny is financially very strong with a tangible net worth of almost £78 million and £17.6 million of working capital.
The company is owned by Trevor Heathcote and his sons Martin and Nathan.
FGS Plant had revenues of around £6 million for the same period, with pre-tax profits of £1.1 million. Its Hire Access Platforms subsidiary posted revenues of just under £3 million with a pre-tax of £475,000.
Neither Heathcote nor FGS has yet to announce the deal, but we have seen a letter the Clements sent to its customers this evening, confirming the acquisition.
Clements was established in 1965 by Coventry haulier Fred Clements who sold out to local property developer the Deeley group in the 1967. Meanwhile In the late 1970s John Jennings and a colleague set up a new business based in Rugby- Alljay Tool Hire, which they built up over many years, selling the business to the Deeley group in 1990. Deeley merged it with Clements Plant, renaming it Clements Alljay.
Jennings remained with the business as managing director of the merged company and in 1996 expanded into the self-propelled aerial lift market with the acquisition of Thumb-a-Lift of Leamington Spa. In January 2007 he led a Management Buy Out with Jim Longstaff.
The two ran the business together until Jennings retired in 2016 with ownership passing to Longstaff, while Adrian Hutchinson is also a shareholder. Clements does not publish its full accounts but is in strong financial shape in terms of net worth and liquidity.
We do not know all the details of this deal yet, but it does seem that the Heathcote’s are good owners and have a good track record building and running a business like Clements. Longstaff would have made this a key consideration when choosing a buyer. My guess is that he had a good offer from a good buyer, in a period of looming uncertainty and decided to get off the merry go-round before it changed – and after all ‘A bird in the hand is better than one in the bush’ as they say in England.
He is nowhere near retirement age, so we might just see him pop up in a new role sometime over the next few years.
The move will give FGS a substantial boost to its access operations, both in terms of revenues and geographic coverage. One assumes that having run Hire Access Platforms for a while, it has developed a taste for the market and sees opportunities. If so, expect further acquisitions to follow in the years ahead.
Well done Jim. Nice move for the business and the staff.
So what’s next for you then?
You’re not considering setting up a rehire brokerage I hope.
All the best.