Logistics buy-out

Bullet Express seeks more deals following MBO

Bullet Express team
Bullet Express is led by John McKail, centre, with David McCutcheon, left, and Gary Smith

Distribution and logistics company Bullet Express has been acquired by its management in a deal backed by a multi-million pound investment.

The buy-out of the Bothwell-based business will see Panoramic Growth Equity and Maven Capital Partners – through Maven Investor Partners – invest alongside Bullet shareholders, David McCutcheon, Gary Smith and John McKail.

The transaction was introduced by Emerald Capital Partners, which also invested in the deal via Maven Investor Partners. 

The funding will support the management’s plan to grow both organically and to acquire other businesses in a £204 billion UK logistics market which is seen to be fragmented and ripe for consolidation. 

Founded in 1990, Bullet provides global freight management, distribution and storage capability to a diverse customer base across multiple sectors including FMCG, Retail, Healthcare, Industrial and Aerospace. 

Over the past three years, the business has grown to 155 employees, expanded from three to six sites with 560,000 sq ft of facilities, and has increased revenues by 38%.

John McKail, who has been managing director since 2020 and has spent his entire career in the logistics sector, becomes chief executive. He described the MBO as a “significant milestone” for the business.

“During my three and a half years as managing director, Bullet has achieved so much,” he said. “Our founders David McCutcheon and Gary Smith can be extremely proud of the very fine organisation they have built, employing some of the best people within our sector. With support from my full team, I am excited to lead the next phase of our journey as we embark on a ‘buy and build’ strategy with our investment partners Panoramic, Maven and Emerald.” 

In a joint statement, Mr McCutcheon and Mr Smith said: “This has been our life’s work, to witness the growth and evolution of Bullet has been the most fulfilling experience.

“From one vehicle back in 1990, to leading market brand we are today, employing over 155 people is quite remarkable. We remain invested and now hand over the baton to John and his team, supremely confident that Bullet is in safe hands for the next chapter of its growth journey.”

Malcolm Kpedekpo, partner at Panoramic, said; “Building on the strong platform developed by the founders, the business is poised to continue its growth both organically and through acquisitions. It represents exactly the type of business we are looking to back via Fund 3 – regional, profitable, ambitious businesses looking to move to the next stage in their evolution.”

Ewan MacKinnon, partner, at Maven, said; “The buyout of Bullet represents an attractive opportunity for Maven Investor Partners to invest in an established, growing, and cash generative business with the potential of a buy and build strategy.”

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