Management buy-out at Expect Distribution keeps £40m firm in the fast lane

A management buy-out has been completed at Bradford-based Expect Distribution. Founding chairman Robert Rushworth and managing director Neil Rushworth have sold the majority shareholding in the GBP40 million turnover business to fellow directors Andy Taylor and Matthew Kilner, ensuring continuity for the 140-truck fleet operation. Andy is operations director, having joined the firm in 2017.

Matthew is financial director, coming on board in 2020. :Holiday operator Parkdean Resorts swoops for Hanson European Caravan Transport Neil Rushworth remains as managing director in the short term, while retaining a minority shareholding.

The new joint owners are described as having been instrumental in the “outstanding growth and profitability of the business,” which was established in 1988 with two vehicles. It now has three warehousing sites in West Yorkshire, providing 70,000 pallet spaces. Neil Rushworth said: “The board held a strategy meeting in quarter one of 2021 and Andy and Matthew expressed some interest in continuing the Expect success story through an MBO and things developed pretty quickly from there.

Deal makers: Members of the Expect management team with advisers from Clarion, Azets and Shawbrook Bank. From left, Nick Salmons and Matt Fannon, Shawbrook Bank; Andy Taylor, Expect; Jonathan Simms, Clarion; Richard Weston, Azets; Neil Rushworth, Expect; Matthew Kilner, Expect; Rob Burton, Azets and Sarah Harrison Clarion.

“Over many years we have created a highly-respected business and despite having external suitors who were interested in buying Expect we found it difficult to imagine any parties who would understand and run the company with the same ethics and unique formula that we have created over the time that the family has owned it . “This is a business at the top of its game, and we are widely recognised for high levels of quality service and we are confident that Andy and Matthew will continue to lead Expect in a manner which is familiar to both our employees and our customers.”

Some of the company’s clients include fast moving consumer goods brands Boost Drinks and Astonish, as well as national retail chain Card Factory. It also has customers in various sectors such as construction, pharmaceuticals, automotive and office furniture. Andy said: “Expect Distribution has some exceptional partnerships with clients with a focus on value added service.

“As we approach 35 years in business, achieving a turnover of nearly GBP40 million and employing over 360 employees – as well as winning Haulier of the Year three times with the Motor Transport Awards, the only UK haulier to win the award in two consecutive years – we’re as efficient and innovative as any competitor, with the in-depth industry knowledge and expertise that our clients need and appreciate.” Matthew added: “We would both personally like to thank Neil and Bob and their vision and dedication which has created the business we have today. Regarding the company’s expansion and growth plans, we couldn’t be more excited to be working with our team to achieve and execute the company’s growth plans going forward and we intend to continue that organic growth which will see Expect grow by a projected 15 to 20 per cent in 2022.

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Management buy-out at Expect Distribution keeps £40m firm in the fast lane

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By signing up for our daily newsletters, email breaking news alerts and weekly round-ups from all the major sectors, you get our journalism direct by email. To sign up, find out more and see all of our newsletters, follow the link here “The transport industry and specifically recruitment will remain a challenge in the coming year but the strength of Expect is within its diversity and we have some big plans underway to expand our warehousing facilities which will provide an additional 16,000 pallet spaces in March.

“We are proud to be taking Expect Distribution into a new era and we are committed to continuing this great success story.” The undisclosed deal was backed by funders Shawbrook Bank. Legal advice was provided by Leeds-based Clarion.

Azets advised the two directors.

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