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Deals round-up

Souter seals Stone deal; wheel plant on hold; Menzies contracts

Sir Brian contributor

Sir Brian Souter: investing in ICT

Souter Investments has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in Stone Group, ICT services provider based in Staffordshire, in an equity and debt refinancing of the business led by CEO Simon Harbridge and its management team.

It is a second buy-out of the firm in 11 years since it was founded in 1991. The deal sees private equity investor RJD Partners realise its investment which was acquired via a management buy-out of Stone Group in 2008. A number of RJD’s investors will retain an interest, having invested alongside Souter Investments in the new structure.

Shawbrook, the specialist UK lending and savings bank with a focus on SMEs, provided debt facilities for the transaction.

Dickson Minto acted as legal advisers for Souter Investments, Freeths for management, Osborne Clark for RJD and Squire Patton Boggs for Shawbrook. BDO, Customer Satisfaction UK, Neotas, FWB Park Brown and Marsh provided due diligence services. Cadence Advisory provided debt advisory services.

Following a series of company sales in 2019, Souter’s investment in Stone Group follows its support of Coretrax Technology’s acquisitions of Churchill Drilling Tools and Mohawk Energy as part of a syndicate led by Buckthorn Partners.

During the year, Souter has also completed a new investment in Eaton Gate, a managing general agent in the insurance sector, and DivideBuy, another Souter portfolio company.

Alloy wheels investment on hold

The company behind plans for an alloy wheel manufacturing plant in Lochaber has put the development on hold until there is greater clarity on Brexit and the UK car industry.

Industrial group GFG Alliance secured planning permission almost two years ago for the near-£130 million expansion of its existing aluminium smelter in Fort William.

There were expectations that the Keppie-designed project would start production next year. However, GFG said it needed to know car manufacturers would stay in the UK after Brexit.

Menzies secures contracts

Menzies Aviation, the global aviation logistics specialist, has secured a number of contract wins and renewals in Sweden, Norway, Romania and Amsterdam.

Miguel Gomez, Menzies SVP North, East & West Europe said: “Multiple contract renewals clearly show that our strategic focus of growing the business organically is paying off, helping to fuel growth in our Scandinavian, Romanian and Amsterdam operations.”

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