LDC has completed an investment to take a minority stake in a £25million transaction to support the continued growth of Aspin Group, a leading provider of infrastructure solutions.
Established in 2000 and headquartered in Hemel Hempstead, Aspin is the UK market leader in the design and construction of piled foundations for the rail sector, primarily used for supporting overhead line equipment (OLE) and signalling structures. The business has a strong track record of innovation and provides clients with an end-to-end solution encompassing design and consulting, ground investigation, project management and construction.
Aspin, which employs over 200 staff, has operations across the UK with key office locations in Mansfield, Derby, Hemel Hempstead, Preston, Glasgow and Somerset.
The business has grown significantly in recent years, with current annual revenue approaching £35million. Growth has come on the back of continuing strong investment in the UK rail sector, as well as expansion of Aspin’s range of products and services and the end markets it serves, which include waterways, highways and power distribution. Aspin’s customer base comprises many of the UK's leading names in rail, construction and related industries such as Network Rail, Carillion, Skanska and Balfour Beatty.
Alongside consistent organic growth, the business has made two strategic acquisitions in the last two years. Sheet piling company, McGrattan, was acquired in 2013, followed by Rogers Structural Investigations in 2014, bringing on-site infrastructure inspection and testing services for the rail and highways markets to Aspin’s portfolio.
LDC is backing Aspin's founders Barry McMahon and Andy Hoffman, who will continue to lead the business alongside its highly experienced senior management team. LDC's investment strategy will be to work alongside this high calibre management team to drive further organic and acquisitive growth across all channels of the business. In particular, Aspin is well-positioned to capitalise on the substantial investment that Network Rail is making into rail electrification over the next five to ten years.
As part of the transaction, Keith Ludeman has joined the business as Non-Executive Chairman. Keith brings a wealth of experience in the rail and wider transport and infrastructure sectors. He was a main board director of Network Rail until July last year, serves as a non-executive director of Interserve PLC as well as chairing Bristol Water and Eversholt Rail Group. He was also CEO of Go Ahead Group PLC from 2006 to 2011.The deal was transacted by LDC’s Nottingham team, led by Investment Director, John Green with support from Andy Grove. They will both join the board with immediate effect.
LDC Investment Director, John Green, said: “With Aspin, we are backing a highly experienced management team that has led the business through multiple phases of organic and acquisitive growth over recent years.
"There are record levels of investment being made in rail electrification over the coming years, and Aspin is well placed to further accelerate its growth and expansion plans. Our support will provide the team with additional financial and strategic firepower to fully capitalise on this.”
Barry McMahon, co-founder of Aspin Group, said: “LDC's investment demonstrates their belief in our business model and provides us with a strong platform to maximise our growth ambitions.
"The rail industry continues to face considerable change and this presents us with a number of exciting growth opportunities. Going forward, we intend to increase the pace of organic growth and build further upon our existing network of operations and services, whilst also actively pursuing viable acquisition opportunities as part of an ongoing 'buy and build' strategy.”
The transaction was supported by a number of Midlands-based advisors, including Browne Jacobson, PwC, Smith Cooper, Geldards, Flint Bishop and Freeths.
The deal with Aspin Group forms part of LDC’s on-going strategy to invest in leading regional mid-market businesses, backing high calibre management teams. The investment is LDC’s third Midlands-based transaction of 2015, following the acquisition of the NEC Group, and just last week, the secondary buyout of leading holiday park owner and operator Away Resorts.