Caledonia buys £142m AIR-serv Europe majority stake

Investment trust Caledonia Investments plc announced it acquired a majority stake in the European division of AIR-serv, comprised of Airvending Limited and AIR-serv Netherlands B.V. — together called AIR-serv Europe.

Caledonia Investments, 48% owned by the Cayzer family, said it subscribed £142.5 million for a 99.8% equity stake in the business alongside an investment from the management team of £500,000 for the remaining equity.

Caledonia said the balance of the purchase price will be financed from bank debt facilities totalling £60 million.

Headquartered in Wigan, Lancashire, AIR-serv Europe is a designer and manufacturer of air, vacuum and jet wash machines which it provides as turn-key solutions to fuel station forecourt operators across Western Europe.

The business has over 200 employees, operates from nine offices, and serves 2,500 customers with 20,000 machines installed across more than 15,000 customer locations in the UK and Ireland, the Benelux, France, Germany and Spain.

AIR-serv Europe has operated as an independent division of US-based CSC ServiceWorks since CSC acquired the business, alongside the North-American AIR-serv operations, in 2013.

Caledonia is a self-managed investment trust company with net assets of £2.8 billion.

Tom Leader, Caledonia’s Head of Private Capital, said: “We are proud to have become the new owners of AIR-serv Europe and to partner with Clive Steel and his team in the next stage of the company’s development.

“The strength and consistency of AIR-serv Europe’s profitability, cash generation and market position are an ideal fit with our private capital investment strategy.

“We believe there are exciting opportunities to build further on the business’ excellent record and to expand its European presence.”

AIR-serv CEO Clive Steel said: “I am delighted to welcome Caledonia as AIR-serv Europe’s new equity sponsor.

“With Caledonia’s financial support, flexibility and long-term investment horizon, I am confident that we can build on the business’ reputation for product quality, technical capability and customer service to take advantage of the significant growth potential in our chosen markets.”

Eric Robinson, CEO of CSC, said: “As owners of AIR-serv Europe for the last decade, our goal was to find a buyer that would be committed to the long-term development of the business.

“We are therefore delighted to pass stewardship of the company on to Caledonia; with backing from the Cayzer family and a reputation as a long-term, supportive investor, I wish Caledonia, along with Clive Steel and his team, every success in the future.”