Prohire trucks

Fleet management firm Prohire Group has sold a majority stake in the business to private equity house NorthEdge Capital in a move aimed at fuelling its acquisition strategy.

Under the deal the existing management team, including managing director David Barlow, will remain at the firm’s helm, with NorthEdge director Phil Frame and investment executive Greg Holmes joining the board in a non-executive capacity.

The capital raised by the MBO will be used to fund targeted acquisitions as part of a buy-and-build strategy aimed at growing the firm’s service offerings and customer base.

The funding will also be used to drive organic growth by expanding the sales team and investing in the firm’s ProVision technology.

The MBO follows Stoke-on-Trent headquartered ProHire’s acquisition of truck rental firm Sunrent in December 2016.

Northedge director Phil Frame said: “Prohire has grown rapidly in recent years under the leadership of Dave and the wider team and has already demonstrated its ability to acquire and integrate complementary businesses. We look forward to working closely with the team in delivering on their growth plan.

“The fleet management market continues to grow, underpinned by increasingly complex compliance requirements and technological developments. We believe Prohire is ideally placed to capitalise on this opportunity and the investment reflects our confidence in both the market and the management team.”

Prohire group MD Dave Barlow said: "NorthEdge is the perfect investment partner for us. They understand our business and their knowledge of the sector coupled with their track record of supporting portfolio companies to grow through acquisition means they are ideally placed to help us deliver our plan.”

“The next stage of Prohire’s development will be the most exciting in our 20-year history. We have a total focus on service and our approach is centred around taking the time to understand our client’s business and developing a bespoke solution to meet their needs. We don’t believe that ‘one-size-fits-all’ and we are confident that our customer centric proposition will continue to differentiate Prohire in the market.”

Prohire, which provides vehicle contract hire, fleet and accident management solutions and short-term rental to some of the UK’s major LCV and HGV fleet users, has a fleet of around 3,500 vehicles.

In its latest annual results toMarch 31 2017, the firm’s turnover rose by 5.9% to £29.8m (2016: £28.1m). However pre-tax profit fell from £1.3m to £819,137, which the firm attributed partly to a dip in demand in the market for tractor units.