Bullet Express has been acquired in a management buyout led by its MD John McKail, just days after announcing it had launched a new air cargo transport service.

The company said the multi-million pound deal was backed by Panoramic Growth Equity and Maven Capital Partners.

Its founders, cousins David McCutcheon and Gary Smith, will step down from the board and assume advisory roles to support the transition.

Bullet Express said both will retain shares in the business.

John McKail becomes group chief executive and shareholder, supported by the existing directors Bridget Mackay, William Herron and Martin Craghill.

McKail said: “This is a significant milestone for our business. Bullet has achieved so much and our founders, David McCutcheon and Gary Smith, can be extremely proud of the fantastic organisation they have built, employing many of the best people in our sector.

“With the support of my full team, I am excited to lead the next phase of our journey as we embark on a ‘build and grow’ strategy with our investment partners. This is a fantastic opportunity for Bullet Express employees, customers and suppliers alike, to be part of the one of the most exciting developments in our sector, now and into the future!”

In a joint statement, McCutcheon and Smith described the haulage firm as their life’s work: “To witness the growth and evolution of Bullet has been the most fulfilling experience. From one vehicle back in 1990, to the leading market brand we are today, employing 160 people is quite remarkable.

They added: “We remain invested and now hand over the baton to John and his team, supremely confident that Bullet is in safe hands for the next chapter of its growth story.”

Ewan MacKinnon, partner at Maven, said: “The buyout of Bullet represents an attractive opportunity for Maven Capital Partners to invest in an established, growing, and cash generative business with the potential of a buy and build strategy.”

This week, Bullet said it had launched Air Cargo Transport out of its Westway Park facility at Glasgow Airport, as well as a new beer, wine and spirits storage and transport division.