There is further welcome evidence of an upturn in the corporate finance deals market with Grant Thornton’s transaction advisory services team in the North of England completing another four major deals, this time for listed corporates and all within a single week.
The four deals include acquisitions by Harrogate-based Vp plc and by Damartex SA, which operates its Damart brand from Bingley. Conviviality Retail plc, which operates as Bargain Booze across the North, has acquired Wine Rack, whilst performance materials group Low & Bonar plc has made an international acquisition.
Jonathan Steed, director in transaction advisory services, added:
Our team in the North has now completed ten transactions in the last ten weeks, with more in the pipeline. We have demonstrated our ability to advise on both corporate and private equity deals across a wide range of sectors, including buy-side, sell-side and cross-border transactions.
Partner Will Oxley (pictured at the top), who leads the transaction advisory services team across the north of England and is practice leader for Grant Thornton’s Leeds office, commented:
It is an indicator of the increased market activity that having enjoyed a busy summer, completing four private equity deals in July, we have now gone on to advise four listed corporate clients on their strategic acquisitions and successfully met the challenge of completing all four deals in a single week.
There is no doubt that deals activity has picked up in Q3 this year, although this remarkable run of deals also reflects our strong position in the Yorkshire corporate finance market. While we wouldn’t go as far as saying we’re returning to the deals volumes of 2007, the flow of transactions looks good for sustained activity for the rest of the year.
The first transaction involved specialist equipment rental group Vp plc which acquired Mr Cropper in Burton upon Trent, the leading renter of pile cropping machines to groundworks and construction sectors throughout the UK. The company will be integrated into Vp’s groundforce division, complementing its existing piling equipment activities. Grant Thornton provided financial and tax due diligence to Vp.
In the second deal, Bingley-based Damartex SA acquired catalogue and online retail business Coopers of Stortford for £25m with Grant Thornton providing financial and tax due diligence to Damartex SA.
Grant Thornton also provided financial, tax, IT and operational due diligence to Conviviality Retail plc, owner of Bargain Booze, the UK’s largest franchised off licence and convenience store chain, which has acquired specialist wines and spirits retailer Wine Rack. The acquisition forms part of Conviviality Retail’s objectives of expanding its wine offering and its geographical coverage following its recent listing on AIM.
In the fourth and final deal, Low & Bonar plc, an international performance materials group based in London, acquired Texiplast, a Slovakian producer of high strength geosynthetic products for the civil engineering sector, for £16m. The purchase of Texiplast extends the Low & Bonar product offering, and provides the group with improved access to Central and Eastern European markets. Grant Thornton in Leeds provided financial due diligence to Low & Bonar, with tax due diligence being undertaken by Grant Thornton’s Bratislava office.