NorthEdge Capital has supported the management buyout (MBO) of Prohire, backing the existing management team led by managing director Dave Barlow.
Headquartered in Stoke-on-Trent with an additional office in Tunbridge Wells, Prohire delivers fully outsourced solutions to commercial operators incorporating vehicle specification, procurement, funding and fleet management, with a focus on compliance, minimising costs and maximising vehicle and driver efficiency.
The business has delivered strong historic growth and completed the acquisition of Sunrent in December 2016 – increasing the scale of its fleet to around 3,500 units. This enabled Prohire to increase turnover by over 20% to £40 million this year.
NorthEdge has taken a majority stake in Prohire and the capital will be used to broaden the sales function and invest into the development of the ProVision technology platform.
NorthEdge will also provide further capital to support the company in its buy-and-build strategy as it looks to accelerate growth through targeted acquisitions which broaden the customer base and service capability.
The deal was led by NorthEdge director Phil Frame, investment executive Greg Holmes and investment manager Dan Matkin.
Frame and Holmes will join the board in a non-executive capacity.
Frame said: “Prohire has grown rapidly in recent years under the leadership of Dave and the wider team and has already demonstrated its ability to acquire and integrate complementary businesses. We look forward to working closely with the team in delivering on their growth plan.
“The fleet management market continues to grow, underpinned by increasingly complex compliance requirements and technological developments.
“We believe Prohire is ideally placed to capitalise on this opportunity and the investment reflects our confidence in both the market and the management team.”
Barlow said: "NorthEdge is the perfect investment partner for us. They understand our business and their knowledge of the sector coupled with their track record of supporting portfolio companies to grow through acquisition means they are ideally placed to help us deliver our plan.
“The next stage of Prohire’s development will be the most exciting in our 20-year history.
“We have a total focus on service and our approach is centred around taking the time to understand our client’s business and developing a bespoke solution to meet their needs.
“We don’t believe that ‘one-size-fits-all’ and we are confident that our customer centric proposition will continue to differentiate Prohire in the market.”
NorthEdge was advised by DWF (Jonathan Robinson and Vicky Thomas), Dow Schofield Watts (Rob McCarthy), Teneo Consulting (Simon Bones) and PwC (David Burke).
Deloitte provided corporate finance (Andy Westbrook, Oliver McRae and Jeremy Thomas) and financial due diligence (Chris Wildsmith) advice to Prohire. Thinking Legal (Jo Bligh) provided legal advice.