The Driver Hire Group has acquired Infra Safety Services Labour Ltd (‘ISS Labour’), a specialist provider of professional and labour services, minor works projects, track lighting and safety barrier solutions to the rail industry.
The deal creates an £85m to £90m turnover Group, based on forecasted figures, and supports the management team’s strategy to diversify its operations.
ISS Labour employs 35 permanent staff across its Derby, Manchester, Stafford and Newport offices, as well as over 600 contractors deployed throughout the track renewal and specialist projects market. The business, which will continue to trade under its existing brand and with its current management team, boasts a wide range of blue-chip clients.
Alongside the provision of labour and consultancy services, ISS Labour also supplies and manages plant to support rail infrastructure projects, including track lighting and safety barrier fencing. For the financial year ending June 2013, ISS Labour generated turnover of £12 million.
As part of the ongoing evolution of the Driver Hire Group, IT and Quality Director Jeremy Neale has been appointed Managing Director of the Driver Hire UK recruitment business. Jeremy, who started his career at GE Capital, joined the business as a Director in 2007 from Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.
Chris Chidley, CEO of the Driver Hire Group, said “Over the past two years our business has diversified to provide complementary recruitment, training and consultancy services. The acquisition of ISS Labour further expands our offering and enables us to capitalise on rapid growth opportunities within the rail infrastructure sector. We look forward to having ISS as another stand-alone business within the Group. We believe that each of our businesses will benefit from the synergies that will emerge from being part of a wider group.”
Gary Beeston, Managing Director of ISS Labour, said: “Government and private investment is set to transform the UK’s rail infrastructure, however we face a severe shortage in highly skilled labour to deliver these projects. With the backing of the Driver Hire Group, we are confident that our business can help support the industry through a period of growth and provide the quality workforces needed to achieve the nation’s rail ambitions.”
Driver Hire’s private equity backers, LDC, provided funding to support the transaction, along with Yorkshire Bank. Steve Harrison, Director at LDC in Yorkshire and the North East, said: “The transaction is a clear statement of Chris and his team’s intentions to expand the business and cement its position as a leader in niche sector specific recruitment. We look forward to further supporting the Driver Hire Group as it delivers its organic and acquisitive growth strategy.”
The Driver Hire Group was advised on the acquisition by Jonathan Jones at Squire Sanders (legals), Stuart Warriner at PWC (corporate finance) and Jean Sengelow at KPMG (tax and structure). Due diligence was provided by Chris Stott at KPMG (financial), Alex Marshall of CIL (commercial), Waterman (environmental, health and safety) and The Burley Group (insurance). Walker Morris provided legal advice to Yorkshire Bank.
Picture: Chris Chidley, CEO of the Driver Hire Group