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Yorkshire Bank backs MBO at car transporter company


ECM Vehicle Delivery Service, the UK’s largest independent transporter of new vehicles, has undergone a management buy-out.

The deal sees the founder and current managing director Ray MacDowall sell a controlling stake in the business to a management team consisting of his brother Grant MacDowall, the operations director, finance director Allen Stuart and general services director John Hope.

Yorkshire Bank provided a multi-million pound funding package to support the deal, with the remainder financed by deferred payment on the part of the vendor.

ECM was established in Cumbria in 1979 by Ray MacDowall, building on the success of his parents’ haulage business. The family now have over 50 years’ experience in the transport industry.

ECB operates a fleet of 360 transporters from 20 locations throughout the UK. The company, which is based in Carlisle, has a 25 per cent share of the new vehicle market and a turnover of £60 million.

It serves customers including Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall, Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Jaguar and Land Rover and handles both outbound consignments – taking vehicles from UK factories to the major ports - and inbound, collecting cars arriving at the ports for delivery to the dealer networks.

The deal gives the management team a majority shareholding in the business, with Ray MacDowall’s family trust retaining the remaining shares.

Peter Smith and Ian Hardman of Yorkshire Bank in Manchester worked on the deal.  Peter Smith said; “Ray MacDowall is justifiably proud of the success of the business, particularly in Cumbria where it was founded and where it continues to provide jobs for local people.

“While he will remain with the business for several years, this is the first stage in a gradual handover process in anticipation of his eventual retirement. He has taken care to ensure that the terms of the deal are in the best interests of the business.”

Ian Hardman added; “ECM is a well established company with a strong reputation gained over many years. The gradual exit of the founder will help ensure its continued stability and success in the future.”

The deal was led by Julian Casstles from TMG Corporate Finance who provided advice to the management team alongside law firm DWF (Ian Gillis and Jenny Barnes).  Addleshaw Goddard (Ben Clare) provided legal advice to Yorkshire Bank, whilst Grant Thornton (Kerry Lane and David Grundy) carried out commercial due diligence.

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