Deal done:
Sale of Aerospace Precision Engineering Solutions

Turnover:  £2.1m
Deal completed in:      3 Months

The Company

An innovative, profitable, family-owned aerospace engineering company. Specialising in providing precision engineering support across the aviation industry, including airline operators and maintenance agencies.

With 30+ years of trading history, the business had achieved organic growth, developing an enviable client base of leading companies across the aerospace sector, including major airlines and global aircraft component specialists. The business also benefitted from a wide range of customer and industry accreditations.

The range of services delivered covered aviation services, precision engineering and ground support.

Driven by a strong innovative ethos, the business had developed and engineered a range of aircraft maintenance tools, with patented elements, presenting a significant area for growth for the company in existing and related industries.

For a full description of the business, please click here.

The Situation

The primary shareholder had reached beyond retirement age and was no longer active in the business. Other family minority shareholders were committed to exiting the business and aware of the potential impact a sale could have on the existing culture of the business.

The business had been built on a strong-family ethos, a dynamic which fostered the innovative spirit and collaboration that had set it apart in the market. Bearing this in mind, a key priority for Hornblower was to find a match which aligned with the company’s interests as much as possible. In other words – to help transfer the business into a safe pair of hands.

Another key factor for consideration was the imminent timing of directors planning to exit the business. In particular, 2 minority shareholders who played core operational roles in the business were reaching retirement age and planned to leave the company within the next year to 18 months. This would mean that finding replacements for these key roles would be a priority for a potential buyer to action.

What Hornblower Did

Our approach to supporting this business came from our experience of working with a number of precision engineering companies. Although businesses in this sector vary in terms of what they manufacture, they are in essence providing sophisticated design/engineering solutions for their customers and manufacturing these critical components in volume. With a deep understanding of this particular sector and our market, we marketed the vendor’s business to our extensive database of known buyers of engineering business. Having received over 50 enquiries but the time the deal was agreed, the eventual buyer was found within a couple of weeks of the business sale launch.

The buyer looked like a perfect fit from the outset. As a reputable, larger business in the engineering sector, it had maintained a family-centred ethos as the company had expanded. Geographically convenient to the vendor’s business, the buyer had achieved a growth strategy of acquiring engineering businesses, developing a group of sector-specific companies.

In addition to presenting an ideal cultural fit, the Buyer was committed to maintaining the identity of each acquisition, ensuring that the unique features of the vendor’s brand would remain intact post-sale.

The process was managed throughout by our M&A Director, Mark Sykes, from initial meetings with the vendor through to final offers, drawing up of ‘Heads of Terms’ and full management of the due diligence and legal transaction through to completion.

In just under 3 months, the sale was complete. We launched the business to market in December – and the deal was completed in February.

SOLD – February 2019