AFI Group agrees £70m refinancing as it sets sights on Middle East

THE AFI Group has secured a �70m refinancing�from�asset-based lender�PNC Business Credit
THE AFI Group has secured a �70m refinancing�from�asset-based lender�PNC Business Credit
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THE AFI Group has secured a £70m refinancing from asset-based lender PNC Business Credit, as it looks to grow in the UK and the Middle East.

Under the leadership of executive chairman David Shipman, who invested in the business back in May 2002, Wakefield-based AFI supplies powered access equipment for rent and sale, along with a range of related training courses.

The company has developed via organic growth and targeted acquisitions into a business that operates a fleet of more than 5,000 aerial work platforms from 25 depots across the UK and the Middle East.

The refinancing deal has given the business access to a £55m asset backed lending facility, alongside a £15m term loan, providing AFI with additional financial firepower as it seeks to continue growing in both the UK and the Middle East. A spokesman said: “Having already completed three UK acquisitions this year, the group will now target further acquisitions, as it seeks to take advantage of consolidation opportunities in the fragmented UK hire market.

“AFI will also continue to look at opportunities to extend its depot footprint in key strategic areas of the UK and the Middle East.”

The group has accelerated its growth plans since it secured an investment by Rutland Partners in May 2013, which amalgamated AFI and Hi-Reach in the UK with Access Rental Gulf in the Middle East, for a combined enterprise value of £85m.  

Mr Shipman said: “This is a good deal for AFI and will enable us to continue taking advantage of both acquisition and organic growth opportuni- ties.”