Enterprise Rent-A-Car has acquired Burnt Tree, one of the UK’s largest providers of commercial vehicle rental to private companies and public sector organisations, in a deal advised by mid-market advisory firm Clearwater International.
The acquisition increases the breadth of vehicles and services that Enterprise can provide to its customers under its flexible commercial vehicle division, Flex-E-Rent.
Shrewsbury-headquartered Burnt Tree has been operating for more than 30 years, while Enterprise is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the UK this year. The deal will see Enterprise take on Burnt Tree’s diverse commercial fleet of 17,000 vehicles, including commercial vans, HGVs, refrigerated trucks and accessible minibuses, its proprietary fleet management technologies, as well as its network of 20 branches and a team of 400 employees.
Burnt Tree was ranked 14th in this year’s Sunday Times Profit Track 100, with profits jumping from £1.4m in 2009 to £10.3m in 2012.
In the immediate short-term, the Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and Burnt Tree businesses will continue to operate as two brands, with a view to creating a combined entity, which will be headquartered in Shrewsbury. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, significantly increases Enterprise’s value proposition in the flexible commercial vehicle rental sector and will take its fleet of commercial vans and trucks to more than 25,000.
As well as its Flex-E-Rent division, Enterprise also operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from the UK’s largest network of car hire branches. It has more than 6,700 offices in the UK, Germany, Ireland, the United States and Canada and also offers daily and weekend rental for private or business use.
Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, director, Danny Glynn, will lead the new business. Burnt Tree chief executive, Richard Metcalfe, will remain in an advisory role to help steer the direction of the combined business.
Burnt Tree chief executive, Richard Metcalfe, said: “Last year we stated our ambition to become the leading and largest in our industry. In time, this agreement will allow Burnt Tree to achieve its full potential to become the market leader. It will become part of the world’s largest vehicle rental company, which, like Burnt Tree, is privately owned. This agreement marks the next phase of growth for the business.”
The Business Services team at Clearwater International advised Burnt Tree on the sale, led by partner Paul Jones with support from director John Clarke and assistant director John Davies.
Paul Jones, a partner at Clearwater International, commented: “Burnt Tree is an extremely well established business with significant experience in its field. As the economy continues to strengthen and funding is more readily available, the vehicle outsourcing market is on an upward trajectory. The Enterprise deal is illustrative of industry attractiveness and the interest for delivering growth strategies through acquisitions. There has also been notable activity from private equity players, such as HgCapital and Sovereign, which also demonstrates the growth potential within the wider commercial vehicle rental, contract hire and fleet management market.”
Enterprise UK and Ireland managing director, Mike Nigro, added: “We are committed to the growth of our flexible commercial vehicle business, which has grown organically in recent years. We could immediately see the potential of Burnt Tree to bring our customers access to skills and services, which are particularly suited to the needs of commercial vehicle customers. Burnt Tree has some unique expertise and will also benefit from becoming part of a truly global organisation. The combined business post-acquisition will be far stronger with greater economies of scale and better technology, while the transfer of knowledge will allow us to better serve our customers.”
Pinsent Masons provided legal advice to Burnt Tree on the sale.