Clearwater advises Jackson Lloyd shareholders on sale to Mears Group

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Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised the shareholders of social housing repairs and maintenance provider Jackson Lloyd Limited, on its sale to Mears Group plc for consideration of £6.1 million.

JL, which has premises in Preston, Skelmersdale and Salford, operates maintenance contracts with private and public sector property organisations, predominantly in the North West. Its services include home refurbishments, voids management, responsive repairs to social housing and corporate buildings, industrial and commercial electrical installations and gas servicing. JL currently has more than 400 employees and an order book in excess of £80m.

Gloucester-based Mears is a leading social housing repairs and maintenance service provider to local authorities and registered social housing landlords in the UK, and has a leading position in the UK local authorities’ outsourced domiciliary care market, providing personal care services to people in their own homes. Mears employs in excess of 12,000 people and provides maintenance and repairs services to 500,000 homes nationwide. Mears also provides over 150,000 hours of domiciliary care to 20,000 service users each week.

Mears will merge its existing North West business with JL to create a significant North West presence and continue JL’s focus on delivering a quality service and maximising customer satisfaction, which is typically key to enhancing profitability and ensuring contract longevity.

Partner Paul Jones, led the deal team for Clearwater, supported by assistant director Richard Shaw. Clearwater provided corporate finance advice to JL’s shareholders.

Paul Jones said: “JL is a company with a long heritage in the North West with an excellent reputation for service and, despite a challenging period since its MBO in September 2005, is an excellent strategic fit for Mears, which is keen to bolster its social housing presence in the North West. Mears is likely to make further acquisitions in the coming years to build its maintenance contract book and improve its UK coverage.

“While day to day repairs and responsive maintenance expenditure has not changed significantly in recent years as the amount of social housing in the UK has remained consistent, competition has increased, squeezing margins which generally benefits scale providers who are and will continue to win market share. This in turn is driving further consolidation within the market.

“Maintenance can be easy to get wrong, as highlighted by the recent high profile failure of Connaught plc, and these concerns have historically put some building contractors off the market. However, with capital budgets under intensive scrutiny within the public sector, many building contractors are now increasingly looking for maintenance opportunities to offset lower capital spend in their core markets which will bring new, and strong players into the maintenance market over the coming months and years. Consequently, exit opportunities for strong regional and national maintenance providers remain positive.”