Clearwater Corporate Finance advises on £6 million AIMS Group cashout deal

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The AIMS Group, which is a leading consultancy covering the full range of health and safety, environmental health and property related issues has undergone a £6.75m “investment for growth” deal.

The transaction, which was debt funded by Lloyds TSB, sees the equity provider Livingbridge take a 38% stake in the group but the majority is retained by the existing management and employees.

The Group’s subsidiaries also include an IT specialist company and a market leader in the manufacture, development, operation and maintenance of specialist ‘in-store’ fresh food conditioning equipment and high quality water systems.

Originally formed in 1983, the AIMS Group remained as a sole trader operation until the late 1980’s when the existing management established a consultancy operation. Following a significant period of restructuring and investment the business now has a £9 million turnover.

The Group’s headquarters are in Towcester, Northamptonshire and it has trading subsidiaries based in Peterborough, Suffolk, Surrey and Ayrshire.

The company has many exciting opportunities including the AIMS specialist disability unit formed in January last year in direct response to new legislation in this area.

The shareholders of AIMS Group are Graham Brown, Robert Graham and Ken Minton. Brown said “We believe that taking on an equity investor will help the Group move on to the next level. We look forward to working together with Livingbridge in pursuing the opportunities available to us.”

Advising the management was the Manchester office of Clearwater Corporate Finance. Mike Reeves, principal with Clearwater said the transaction has enabled the existing shareholders to extract some of the value they have created so far whilst maintaining a majority stake in the business. “With Livingbridge on board as institutional investor, this will help the business to grow at a faster rate than it otherwise would.”

Assisting Mike Reeves at Clearwater were assistant director Simon Lord and manager Jane Mercer.

Ian Sale and Jonathan Thompson of Lloyds Acquisition Finance provided the debt package for the transaction. Sale said “Lloyds TSB is delighted to finance this excellent opportunity and be involved in the continued growth of the AIMS Group”.

David Sherratt of Livingbridge London, who was assisted by Dominic Ely, commented: “AIMS Group is a great investment opportunity with potential for growth across its wide range of services.”

Legal adviser to the vendor shareholders was Gateley Wareing, Birmingham led by Paul Hayward assisted by Simon Gill and Andrew Madden.