Logistics company Walkers Transport in management buyout deal

Logistics specialist Walkers Transport has completed a management buyout (MBO), backed by independent investment firm Total Capital Partners.

Total Capital Partners helped with the MBO of Weird Fish earlier this year as well.
Total Capital Partners helped with the MBO of Weird Fish earlier this year as well.

The deal values the business, which has logistics centres in Leeds, Birstall and Manchester, at around £20m.

Total Capital is providing £13.5m of equity and debt and will take a 60 per cent equity stake in Walkers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Walkers Transport carries ambient, non-hazardous, palletised goods for a broad range of manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and distributors.

The company was founded by current owner Nigel Jenkinson who will continue to be involved in the business as a non-executive director and consultant.

Ownership will transfer to the management team led by chief executive Richard Simpson, as a result of the MBO, with Nigel Jenkinson retaining a minority stake.

Mr Simpson said: “We are really pleased to have Total Capital on board. Their funding model made sense for us and equally important was the chemistry with the Total Capital team. We are excited about the future and we are looking forward to working with Total Capital as we enter our next exciting phase of growth.”

Walkers has seen strong growth over the last few years with turnover increasing from £18m in 2014 to £25m in 2016. The business currently employs around 240 people.

The new management team plans to continue to grow and develop its service offering in the M62 corridor, with Total Capital’s support.

The logistics specialist is also exploring opportunities to acquire further businesses where existing owner-managers are looking to retire.

The deal was led by Mark Buttler who joined Total Capital Partners as a partner in November 2016.

He said: “Walkers is fantastic business with a market leading reputation and strong potential for further growth. We believe that the business has a compelling growth opportunity due to its focus on providing excellent customer service and track record of new customer wins. We look forward to working with Richard and his team to capitalise on these opportunities as the business continues to invest and expand its operations.”

This is the second investment that Total Capital Partners has made this year following the MBO of Weird Fish, a lifestyle leisurewear clothing brand, which completed in April 2017.

Natalie Eastham, managing partner of Total Capital Partners, said: “We are delighted to be able to again demonstrate the Total Capital model at work, this time for a fast-growing logistics business in the North of England. It testifies to the appeal that our flexible combined equity and debt funding approach has for management teams, providing an attractive alternative to the traditional leveraged private equity model for businesses and transactions requiring funding of £10-30m.”

Road transport accounted for 74 per cent of all goods moved in the UK during 2015, according to the data from the Department for Transport. The level of goods moved rose by some 13 per cent, generating revenues of £26.1bn, in 2015.

History on the road

Walkers Transport was formed in 1979 as a road haulage company.

It operates the Northern Hub in Leeds for Palletways, providing an express gateway across the UK for ambient, non-hazardous pallet distribution.