Clearwater advises on £37 million sale of Caledonian Building Systems


Caledonian Building Systems Limited (“Caledonian”), the UK’s leading manufacturer of pre-engineered buildings has been sold to a Management Buy-Out team in a £37 million deal, backed by Dunedin Capital Partners who were introduced to the deal by Clearwater Corporate Finance plc.

Caledonian designs, manufactures and constructs buildings using pre engineered, steel framed modules. The modules are assembled at the company’s 24-acre site in Carlton-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire. Caledonian is also a leading provider of secure portable accommodation for hire or sale under the Safemaker brand, operating from 5 depots throughout the UK.

The company was founded in 1997, initially concentrating on providing modular building solutions to the custodial sector. Since then, the company has broadened its product offering to include solutions for accommodation within the Ministry of Defence, Hotel, Education and Healthcare sectors. Caledonian employs 230 people.

Caledonian’s buildings are based on pre-engineered steel framed modules, which are fitted out to the customer’s specifications in the factory environment. The modules are transported to site, erected, and completed externally to form permanent multi-story buildings. The use of pre-engineered modules provides a number of advantages to its customers. These include :

  • Greater certainty of cost and building completion.
  • Shorter construction time (typically half) compared to traditional construction methods, providing early occupation, and where applicable, early revenues to clients.
  • Shorter time on-site reducing the risks and disruption associated with traditional construction processes.
  • Compliance with the latest regulations on sound and energy efficiency and
  • Consistency of final build quality compared to alternative traditional methods.

As well as introducing Dunedin to the deal, Clearwater Corporate Finance also advised the shareholders on the disposal. Nottingham Partner Paul Newell led Clearwater’s team, assisted by director, James Ward.

The founders of Caledonian, Phil Hinton and Gavin Hutchinson, retain a financial interest in the business and will continue to be involved in a consultant and executive capacity respectively. The management team will be led by David Turnbull as Managing Director and Kevin Wheat as Finance Director.

Commenting on the deal, Phil Hinton said, “We are pleased with the growth we have achieved in the business since the original buy out in 1997. The market for our products is growing at a healthy rate and this looks set to continue as modular building becomes even more recognised as a major construction solution of the future. Dave and his team have been instrumental in delivering this growth and I have every confidence that they will carry this on into the future”.

David Turnbull, Managing Director commented: “We are delighted that Dunedin has backed the management team in the buyout of Caledonian. Caledonian’s design and construction expertise makes it a UK market leader in its field. Many exciting market opportunities are open to the business and investment in additional manufacturing capacity is planned. Dunedin’s expertise and commitment will help Caledonian capitalise on the many opportunities it faces.”

Paul Newell, partner with Clearwater, said the deal had provided an excellent opportunity for the investors to realise their investment in the business. “The shareholders have fundamentally changed the business since the original MBO in 1997. They have successfully brought Caledonian to its current number one position in the fast track design and build market for pre-engineered accommodation in the UK. We are delighted to have been involved in this transaction – involving as it does one of the region’s most successful private companies.”