Blackpool-based aggregates haulier and earthworks contractor Fox Brothers has acquired Clive Hurt Plant Hire for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition creates a business with an annual turnover of almost £50m, 320 staff and a fleet of 150 trucks made up of Fox Brothers' fleet of 70 trucks and Clive Hurt Plant Hire’s 80-strong fleet. The business will also operate around 400 plant machines.

Paul Fox, group MD at Fox Brothers, said the acquisition will be a “catalyst” for future growth and create “significant opportunities” to compete for larger projects and expand the group’s geographical coverage.

The group management team will be led by Paul Fox, director Alan Fox, group commercial and strategic director John Flood, commercial director Lee Stringer and operations manager Richard Hurt. Clive Hurt will also remain in the business.

Fox Brothers and Clive Hurt Plant Hire will continue under their existing brands with day-to-day operations carried out from their respective locations.

Paul Fox said: “This acquisition is an incredible opportunity to unlock the potential of both businesses. Even before this deal we were considered leaders in our respective fields. Now it will create further opportunities for the two firms to take advantage of. We both have strong skillsets that can be brought together very effectively.

“We will be one of the main providers of earthworks and aggregates transport in the North West and we will be able to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ solution for housebuilders, infrastructure, construction and civils contractors. We will also have the capability to tackle larger and more complex engineering projects.

“Fox is a data-driven business with fleet optimisation at the core of our operations. There is significant growth potential for the group by improving efficiencies across the whole fleet.”

The acquisition will also significantly enhance the combined group’s buying power for wagons, plant, equipment, fuel, tipping and aggregates.

As part of the deal, Fox Brothers’ property company Fox Brothers (Blackpool) Limited has agreed to purchase Clive Hurt’s Sandham House depot in Leyland.

Paul Fox says the acquisition aims to drive future growth. He said: “Looking further ahead our plan is to continue to grow both organically and through selective acquisitions.”

He added: “This is a special deal for our family because we are building on the foundations established by my grandfather HF Fox who built the business. He passed away in 2007 but his legacy lives on and I am sure he would be proud of what we have achieved.”

The transaction was funded by Close Brothers who provided invoice finance, asset finance and term debt to support the acquisition.