UK Landscapes, a family business founded in 1997, now employs over 175 staff at its headquarters in Middlewich, Cheshire and regional depots throughout the UK including Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff, Reading and Harlow. The company serves blue-chip customers such as Asda, John Lewis, Waitrose, Shell, and Santander. The funding will enable it to step up its organic growth and pursue a ‘buy and build’ strategy in the sector.
UK Landscapes was founded by Andrew Preston and is now run by his son Leigh, who has been managing director since 2008. The company provides grounds maintenance, landscape construction, arboricultural and gritting services to supermarkets, facilities management, construction, utilities and the public sector. It has developed its own bespoke operating software, which helps drive efficiency, control and enhance the quality of data for clients.
The company, which increased turnover by 40% to £13.5m in the twelve months to February 2021, has recently completed its second acquisition with the purchase of Glasgow-based Euan Weir Landscaping.
As part of the deal, Martin Donnachie has been appointed as the company’s Chair. Martin has over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the housebuilding and utilities sectors and is also currently Chair of Aptus Utilities, which is backed by Westbridge Capital.
Leigh Preston, managing director, said: “I am really pleased to welcome both Mercia and Martin into UK Landscapes. Over the past few years the company has really started to excel in the market. We look forward to working closely with our new team to continue our success, breaking into new areas of the market and building on our strengths.”
The deal is the second deal by Mercia’s private equity funds within three months and follows its investment in Coventry-based Imail Comms to support its buy-out from DHL Parcel UK.
The Mercia team included Wayne Thomas and Matthew Molyneux. Wayne Thomas, managing director of Mercia’s private equity funds, said: “UK Landscapes has grown from a family-run regional operator to a national business competing with the big established players in the market. The grounds maintenance sector is ripe for consolidation. UK Landscapes is well positioned to diversify into new sectors and new geographical areas and become a leader in its field.”
Sophie Colloby at Dow Schofield Watts provided financial due diligence for Mercia, while Russ Cahill at Tax Advisory Partnership provided tax due diligence. Mike Murphy and Katy Oakes at Hill Dickinson provided legal advice to Mercia. Sam Davies and Ben Barlow at Cowgills provided corporate finance advice to UK Landscapes while Kate Richards at Gateleys provided legal advice to the company.