Strong second half of 2016 for Grant Thornton’s Midlands dealmakers

Midlands dealmakers at Grant Thornton are reporting a strong second half of 2016 despite global economic and political uncertainty. The firm’s advisory teams have worked with a wide range of well-known regional businesses in key economic sectors. Notable transactions for the corporate finance team include advising the shareholders of Hayley Group, the UK’s largest independent engineering inventory supplier, on the 50% investment by Descours & Cabaud in their £115 million turnover business. Grant Thornton also advised the Hayley Group on its recent acquisition of Mercury Bearings, an industrial spare parts and components business, which represents a continuation of the Group’s strategic growth plan. Grant Thornton’s Midlands team also provided transaction advisory services to several key deals during the period, including advising Connection Capital on its backing of the Management Buy-out of Clamason Industries, one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of precision-pressed products for medical, power, consumer goods and automotive sectors. It also provided financial and tax due diligence to Royal Bank of Scotland on the MBO of building services company J S Wright & Co and further supported Rigby Group's private equity arm, which continues to focus on a buy and build strategy, on its acquisition of SIPHON Networks. Mustafa Abdulhusein, head of Grant Thornton’s corporate finance team in the Midlands, said: “Grant Thornton’s Midlands-based deal activity in the second half of 2016 echoes just what we’re seeing nationally: a continuing appetite for mergers and acquisitions in the mid-market, with valuations remaining strong for the right businesses with strategic relevance or scale. With the depreciation of sterling since the Brexit vote, UK assets are more affordable than they have been for some time, which will no doubt create further opportunities for cross-border deals. And given our strong start to 2017, we’re cautiously optimistic about the level of deal activity in the coming year.” Amongst the transactions completed by Grant Thornton partner Eddie Williams and his recovery & reorganisation team was the sale of Swadlincote business Hobby Products International Europe Limited to HPI Racing Holdings Ltd., a part of the Ripmax group of companies, that saved 28 jobs when the deal completed in May last year. Already this year, the team has successfully sold several Midlands-based businesses out of administration, including the Travelsphere and Just You brands belonging to the Market Harborough-based All Leisure Group to Canadian travel operator G Adventures Inc, a deal which preserved 200 jobs and safeguarded holidays for over 13,500 passengers. It also successfully sold vehicle pressings and assemblies manufacturer Covpress out of administration, to fast-growing industrials group Liberty House, securing 740 skilled jobs in the Midlands and rescuing the pensions scheme. Other appointments included the Colson Castors engineering group in December which was sold in February 2017. In the full year of 2016, Grant Thornton is reporting record levels of corporate finance activity nationally, completing 134 deals with a cumulative value of £4.4bn. The firm’s international network saw the firm close £1bn of deals with overseas buyers, while a further £1bn of transactions involved private equity.