Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Civil engineering company completes MBO on landscaping and haulage division

Jessica Painter


A highly successful family company, whose founders are still associated with the business 70 years after it began trading, have completed a management buy-out of one of their divisions, despite the lockdown.

The deal was completed by Swindon-based corporate finance specialists Watersheds.

S E Davis and Son Limited, which was founded by Sid Davis in the 1930s, began as poultry breeders, but by the 1950s Sid’s son Bob diversified into transport by transporting hay and straw from the East Coast to Wales.

This grew into the current multi-division company run by Bob’s son Andy, which today offers a range of services and materials to the agricultural and construction industries.

The company supplies mobile on-site bespoke aggregate washing plants and has worked on a number of significant civil engineering projects, including the new stadium built for Tottenham Hotspur.

Last year the directors decided to make mobile washing systems the focus of the business, and to dispose of a non-core division of the business which supplies landscaping materials and related haulage services.

Andrew Manson-Jenkins, who is a director and manages the division, and his husband Craig, who is an administrator at the company, expressed interest in buying the business.

Lucy Gilbertson, whose grandparents Bob and Christine are still involved in the company, had been given Watershed’s details by another haulage company.

“We’re professionals in our own field, but knew nothing about management buy-outs because we’d never contemplated selling part of the company before,” said Lucy.

“But Jessica Painter came to see us and couldn’t have made the process easier. She took us through the procedure and explained everything we needed to do in detail. She made the transfer feel quite simple for us, because she’s handled everything.

Jessica Painter, a partner with Watersheds, said it was a delight to work with the family to complete this deal.

“Management buy-outs can often bring substantial benefits for both vendors and purchasers,” said Jessica.

“Both parties already know each other, and know the business, so the owners can be also be confident that the business will continue to be well-run, and if properly supported can have more control over the sale process than if they were selling to an unknown third party. However, for most business owners it can feel like a very daunting process.

“Watersheds have extensive experience in advising and supporting clients through the MBO process, from establishing objectives, valuing the company, negotiation, raising finance and even providing a listening ear and allaying concerns.

“This particular deal was completed under exceptionally difficult circumstances, but we and the vendors were able to rise to the challenges and the result really is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Jessica.

“It is a unique deal that has allowed two of the Company’s longstanding employees to acquire a business with a solid customer base of builders, landscapers, farmers and the general public.

“The business also benefits from its reputation as the leading aggregate supplier in the West Midlands, with a fleet of specialist vehicles for bulk haulage, and sustainable and recycled products that satisfy its customers’ corporate social responsibility requirements.

“Of course, the deal also protects the employment of the division’s staff and continued service to its customers too, so it’s a deal that is good news for everyone involved.”