Help-Link acquires Miller Pattison

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A YORKSHIRE-based boiler and central heating firm has secured an acquisition that will increase its share of a fragmented national market.

Help-Link UK has bought loft and cavity insulation specialist Miller Pattison, formerly known as SIG Energy Management, from Sheffield-based SIG, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will see Help-Link expand its boiler services to include insulation.

As part of the acquisition, which comes a year after Help-Link received investment from private equity firm NorthEdge Capital, Help-Link will take on Miller Pattison’s network of 11 branches across the UK, its fleet of vehicles and 300 strong workforce.

Leeds-based Help-Link employs more than 900 staff across the UK and maintains a fleet of 500 vehicles. Help-Link’s directors plan to provide heating and energy saving measures for the entire home.

The acquisition of Miller Pattison is the first part of this strategy. Help-Link’s managing director Mel Butler said: “Since establishing Help-Link 15 years ago the company has gone from strength to strength. We have grown at a rapid rate and we want to continue on this growth path. Help-Link’s strong brand, sales workforce, IT systems and operational procedures will act as a platform for the growth of Miller Pattison’s current offerings.”

Mr Butler said that Help-Link’s current turnover was around £90m, and this figure could increase three-fold over the next three years. He confirmed that the company was thinking about further acquisitions.

According to Mr Butler, Help-Link’s IT platform could be used to revolutionise other companies.

In April last year, NorthEdge Capital invested £11m in Help-Link, valuing the home heating business at £30m.

The company appointed retail veteran Keith Pacey to chair the business. Andy Ball and James Hall, both of NorthEdge, also joined the board. Help-Link has invested heavily in advertising to build its profile, with TV presenter Johnny Ball fronting its campaign.

Mr Butler, a former central heating engineer from Wakefield, founded the business with Gary Howe in 1998. In 2010, Help-Link launched its ‘Johnny Ball deal’ offering a new boiler with 10-year manufacturers’ warranty to compete against rivals offering only cover on old boilers.

Mr Butler said yesterday: “NorthEdge have given me the freedom to move forward.”

NorthEdge closed its first fund last year at £225m with backing from institutional investors in America, Europe and Australia in one of the largest fundraisings since the credit crunch.

The private equity house targets the mid-market with investment in businesses with an enterprise value of £10m to £100m.