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Lupton Fawcett advises Sheffield group as it strengthens operations with company purchases


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Sheffield-based, Atlas North Holdings, which owns Pneumatic & Hydraulic Couplings Ltd (PHC), has bought complimentary businesses, AirCat Limited and Special Air Services Limited for an undisclosed sum, with legal advice from Lupton Fawcett.

PHC buys and sells pneumatic, hydraulic and transmission equipment across the UK and the purchase of Hull-based AirCat Limited will add the distribution rights to products from global fluid power manufacturer, IMI Precision Engineering.  IMI Precision’s high-quality portfolio includes the IMI Norgren pneumatic range and IMI Buschjost fluid process control valves.  The combination of the two businesses will increase the group’s product portfolio and also greatly enhance the buying ability of the group.

In addition, Special Air Services, based in Long Eaton, maintains and services the equipment sold by the two companies, enabling Atlas North Holdings to provide a full service from sales to maintenance.  

Established in 1993 by Peter Crookes, PHC was bought by the management, consisting Paul Gate, Andrew Sleney and Stephen Tupling in June 2016, as Atlas North Holdings.  The equal shareholders have since increased the turnover of PHC from £1.7m to a projected turnover of £2.5m this year.

Following the purchase, AirCat’s current directors, MD Matthew Orriel and Peter Meakin, will remain with the company for the next six months to ensure a smooth handover. All the remaining jobs across both companies will remain.

Speaking about the purchases, managing director of Atlas North Holdings, Paul Gate, said,

“PHC has enjoyed enormous success over the past few years and we were keen to accelerate that growth. Therefore the opportunity to buy both AirCat and Special Air Services came at exactly the right time.

“Both companies have a great reputation in the market and loyal client bases. In addition the three companies working together will create an extremely strong group that will enable us to provide our customers with a full and comprehensive service and maintenance package”.

Providing legal advice to Atlas North Holdings on the acquisition was Lupton Fawcett’s corporate partner in Sheffield, Neil Large, who led a multidisciplinary team of corporate, employment, tax and real estate lawyers.   

Commenting on the transaction, Neil said,

“Having worked with the management of Atlas North Holdings on their original MBO transaction to acquire PHC, it was an absolute pleasure to work with them again on this, their first acquisition following the MBO. 

“AirCat and SAS are a great fit and will allow Atlas North Holdings to expand its existing market share and diversify into new markets.  The owners of AirCat and SAS are leaving the companies in safe hands and I have no doubt both companies will enjoy continued success and go from strength to strength under their new ownership.

“The Atlas North Holdings management are a driven, forward-thinking, and highly progressive team, and I won’t be surprised if there are a few more acquisitions on the horizon.”

Accountancy and corporate finance advice to Atlas North Holdings was provided by Kevin Gregory of Sheffield-based Transact Corporate Finance.

Photograph: Paul Gate of Atlas North Holdings, Matthew Orriel of Air Cat, Keith Stephenson IMI Precision Engineering and Neil Large, Lupton Fawcett

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