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Sale of Brandon Hire to Vp plc

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8th November 2017

Rutland Partners is pleased to announce that on 7 November 2017 it agreed and completed the sale of Brandon Hire to Vp plc for a total consideration, including completion adjustments, of c.£69 million. The disposal from Rutland Fund II realises a return of 2.6x its original investment of c.£32m.

Brandon Hire, based in Bristol, is a leading tool and equipment hire company in the UK. Founded in 1971, the company employs over 900 people across more than 140 branches throughout England, Scotland and Wales. As a national business, Brandon Hire serves more than 30,000 local customers with a comprehensive range of tools and equipment primarily for use within the repair and maintenance sector of the construction industry as well as specialist applications including the growing events sector.

Brandon Hire was acquired from Wolseley plc (now Ferguson plc) in 2010. The complex carve-out of the business from the vendor took some eighteen months to complete with 40 sites shared with Wolseley restructured and new branches opened. Since Rutland’s investment, the business has been successfully reshaped and repositioned by the CEO, Tim Smith, and his team, as the first national business operating at a local level targeting the SME sector. This successful strategy has enabled continued growth of the business, lower costs, improved EBITDA and market leading ROCE. Rutland’s continued support for the business included the successful acquisition of Phoenix Surveying Equipment, which further broadened Brandon Hire’s offering in the specialist surveying market.

Post-completion of the sale, Brandon Hire will become part of the successful Hire Station division of Vp plc, complementing its existing tool and equipment hire business.

The investment was led on behalf of Rutland by Nick Morrill, David Wardrop and Kajen Mohanadas with additional support from Jason Birt.

Rutland said:

“Brandon Hire was a complex carve-out from its previous owners at a difficult time for the UK economy. Under the leadership of Tim Smith and his senior team, the business has become one of the most consistent performers in its sector and within our portfolio irrespective of market conditions. This deal is a great outcome for both our fund investors and the Brandon Hire team. Vp plc is acquiring a business with a strong brand, good senior management and a broad, well invested equipment hire fleet. We wish Vp and management every success for the future.”

Tim Smith said:

"From the outset Rutland has been a supportive investor in Brandon Hire and was my first choice backer as we separated from Wolseley plc. A stable shareholding has allowed us to grow a successful equipment hire business, with an SME focus. This has given us a competitive edge and a point of difference. We've been able to build real customer loyalty by developing a great local branch network that's run by staff who genuinely care about what they do. I feel proud of what we have achieved together. Looking to the future, Vp is the ideal new owner to allow the company to continue to grow and thrive."

This transaction adds to a strong year for Rutland with two awards for its successful Fund II exits of Attends Healthcare and Millbrook and another in Fund II for its transformation of Pizza Hut. There has also been further development of the Fund II portfolio through the acquisition of Kimberly Rentals by AFI Group. The firm has additionally made three new investments in Fund III - Omar Group, Aston Barclay and Armitage Pet Care.