Easternrange makes clean sweep with acquisition of Go Plant

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Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised the owners of Go Plant, the specialist vehicle hire group, on its sale to Easternrange, a private investment vehicle.

Established in the 1960s and now a market leader, Go Plant operates a fleet of over 1,000 specialist vehicles including road sweepers, refuse vehicles and gully clearing machines from 20 depots across the UK. It supplies vehicles either for self-hire or with drivers to local authorities, house builders, road maintenance providers and other industrial clients.

The business has grown substantially since Graphite Capital backed its £3.5 million management buy-out, led by Patrick Tierney, from the environmental services division of AAH in December 1995. Graphite provided additional funding of £1.8 million for the acquisition of Shropshire Road Sweepers in 1999.

Turnover rose by 59 per cent to £27.6 million in the three years to March 2007, matched by a sharp increase in operating profits. This sale, together with a previous refinancing of the business, means Graphite earned a total return in excess of four times its investment.

Clearwater partner Rob Britton said: “Go Plant has been a very successful investment for Graphite. Patrick and the team have done a fantastic job developing and transforming the business during the early years and subsequently growing revenue and profits strongly. We were very pleased to be able to broker this deal with Easternrange.”

Patrick Tierney, Go Plant managing director, commented: “We have built a very strong business. Our prospects are excellent thanks to the growing trend by local authorities to outsource their fleet management activities, and also increased government spending on road infrastructure. With the support of Easternrange, we will continue to capitalise on these trends, expand our national coverage and explore acquisition opportunities.”

Rob Britton of Clearwater advised the vendors, who were Graphite Capital, the management team and other minority shareholders.