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Gloucestershire Business News

Gloucester based pump supplier sold to Nordic group

A company that helped save Toddbrook Reservoir Dam from collapsing and flooding the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge in August 2019 has been sold to a Nordic group.

Pump Supplies Limited, which provides electric submersible pumps to a range of industries, has been bought by the pump aftermarket specialists Lakers Group, in a deal completed by Swindon-based corporate finance specialists Watersheds.

Pump Supplies was founded in 1982 by Andrew John, when he acquired a fleet of submersible pumps from a former employer that was re-focussing its business. Over the following 20 years Andrew and his fellow director Barry Jones expanded beyond his firm's original South Wales headquarters to open depots at Moreton Valence in Gloucester, Bodmin in Cornwall, Wexford in Southern Ireland and Winsford in Cheshire.

The firm, which now has an annual turnover of £20m, boasts the largest fleet of electric submersible pumps in the UK, and benefits from a highly skilled workforce.

Around half of the company's turnover is derived from the UK's municipal water companies, but Pump Supplies also works on civil engineering projects and with local authorities, utility companies, mines and quarries.

Its highest profile work tends to be in providing emergency relief in response to extreme flooding. The company worked on the alleviation of the South Yorkshire floods of 2019 and the Somerset Levels on several occasions in recent years.

Possibly its most memorable operation to date has been the contribution it made in providing a vast number of pumps and pipework from stock to help save Toddbrook Reservoir Dam from collapse and flooding the town of Whaley Bridge in August 2019. Following 48-hours of unprecedented rainfall, the dam look set to burst. Engineers, supported by equipment and expertise supplied by Pump Supplies, pumped water from the 300-million-gallon Toddbrook Reservoir and eventually the risk of collapse dissipated.

Lakers, headquartered in Oslo, Norway has more than 350 employees across Northern Europe and by adding Pump Supplies to the group will reach an annual turnover of close to £100m. The Lakers group is backed by Summa Equity and has to date made 25 acquisitions over a 5-year period. Its ambitious growth plans made the acquisition of Pump Supplies a strategic one; securing a stronghold in the UK via the purchase of one of the most highly specialist, reputable players in the market.

Jessica Painter, a partner with corporate finance specialists Watersheds, said the firm is delighted to help Andrew achieve his ambition, particularly during the third lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Having confidentially marketed the business last year we helped Andrew find the right buyer for his business of nearly 40 years. There had to be an alignment of culture ensuring staff would be looked after as he had done, and customers continuing to receive the high service levels that the company prized itself on.

"Andrew accepted Lakers' offer at the turn of the New Year and the deal completed within 10 weeks of the first discussion."

Mr John said: "I can't thank Watersheds and Jessica enough for their help and guidance, particularly at a time when many deals are collapsing because of the uncertainty around the pandemic.

"They made the entire process so easy for me. It has been a great journey for the past 39 years. One that I have thoroughly enjoyed with the support of some great people and customers over the years, and I'm very much looking forward to the next stage."

The legal advice on the sale was provided by John Davies and Simon Hore of Thrings.

For more information about Watersheds and the services they provide, please visit https://www.watersheds.ltd.uk or call 01793 719788.

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