Meet the Leeds-based private equity firm that is on the acquisition trail

Leeds-based Winch & Co bought Dedicated Transport Solutions (DTS) in Northumberland and its 250,000 sq ft industrial estate last month. It has added two new trucks to the fleet as well as upgrading the firm’s office space.

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Nathan Winch, managing partner of Winch & Co, said: “Unlike some private equity investors we don’t acquire with a view to asset strip, we acquire with an intent to invest and grow the business. And that’s exactly what we have done within the first five weeks of owning DTS.

Debra Hart and Nathan Winch at Leeds-based private equity firm Winch & Co.Debra Hart and Nathan Winch at Leeds-based private equity firm Winch & Co.Debra Hart and Nathan Winch at Leeds-based private equity firm Winch & Co.

“We recognised the potential of this business, hence us not only purchasing these two new MAN TGX trucks, but also upgrading the office accommodation for the staff. “This ‘early doors’ investment is in the region of GBP250,000 and demonstrates our belief in DTS and its team.

“The addition of these two vehicles to the fleet will enable us to compete for new contracts which were previously out of our reach.” DTS is the second haulage firm Winch & Co now owns.

The vehicles were purchased from MAN Truck & Bus Gateshead.The vehicles were purchased from MAN Truck & Bus Gateshead.The vehicles were purchased from MAN Truck & Bus Gateshead.

The company, which is looking to add five transport businesses to its portfolio, began its acquisition trail last October with the purchase of Northampton-based Eclipse Distribution Solutions. It also appointed logistics expert Debra Hart – who has worked alongside a number of transport industry heavyweights including former Dragon Den’s investor, Hilary Devey – as commercial director.

The new trucks are MAN TGX 510s, and their arrival this week takes the firm’s fleet to eight. The vehicles were purchased from MAN Truck & Bus Gateshead. Winch & Co was founded by South Yorkshire entrepreneur Mr Winch, who sold his first business in 2017.

The business, which is based in the centre of Leeds and which has 100 full-time employees, invests in UK companies operating in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG), industrial and service-based industries. The purchase of Dedicated Transport Solutions (DTS), which operates a road transport fleet from its base in Cramlington, County Durham, came off the back of Winch & Co’s purchase of Eclipse Distribution Solutions, a GBP4m transport business based in Loughborough. Mr Winch said: “If there’s anything the Covid pandemic taught us, it’s the importance of logistics and warehousing.

Without operators such as DTS and Eclipse, the nation would have ground to a halt. “Whilst both these businesses are based in different parts of the country – DTS in the North East and Eclipse in the Midlands – they both operate nationally, and both have on-site warehousing facilities. “DTS has plenty of potential, and for us it’s an exciting prospect.

When we acquire a business, we do so to increase its profitability via investment and different ways of working. “The previous owners built a solid business, and our job is to now drive it forward and take it to its next level.” Winch & Co was advised by Leeds-based law firm Ison Harrison Solicitors and DTS was advised by Lupton Fawcett.

Industry expert joins Last month Winch & Co appointed Debra Hart as its new commercial director. Ms Hart said she was looking forward to working with the team.

“The transport sector is one I know well, and I know my experience and industry knowledge will help add real value to the business and help it achieve its goals,” she added.

Mr Winch said: “Debra has had a colourful and varied career so far, working in the transport, haulage and other asset-heavy sectors – most notably as commercial director at PallEx, as well as experience in marketing and managing angel investments for a former ‘Dragon’, Hilary Devey on Dragons’ Den.”