News Item: AFI's Acquisition of Facelift and New £60m Financing from Pricoa Private Capital

AFI-Uplift Limited (‘AFI’ or ‘The Group’), one of the UK and Middle East’s leading powered access specialists offering machine rental and sales as well as industry-accredited training and health & safety courses, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Facelift (GB) Limited (‘Facelift’). The Group has also secured new long-term financing from Pricoa Private Capital (‘Pricoa’). 

Facelift is a long-established powered access rental business with a strong heritage in the truck mounted platform market. Founded in Hickstead in 1986, Facelift has built an enviable market position in its rental business and its complementary training business. Facelift reported revenues of £12m for 2018 and has a total rental fleet of over 700 machines. AFI plans to retain and develop the Facelift brand, with Paul Standing (Facelift Managing Director) set to join the AFI board following the acquisition.

The acquisition takes AFI’s UK rental fleet to 7,500 machines and allows AFI to substantially add scale to its existing business. The acquisition of Facelift will particularly strengthen AFI’s offering in the self drive truck and van mounted platform markets and is an excellent geographic fit to Wilson, AFI’s existing truck mounted business. 

The acquisition also marks an important step in the continued development of the Group as it delivers a successful exit for Rutland Partners, marking the end of a productive partnership spanning over six years. Having invested in AFI in a complex and transformational three-business combination deal in 2013, Rutland has fully supported the significant growth initiatives of recent years and is realising a strong return. 

Pricoa, the private capital provider to middle-market companies, will invest £60m through a combination of debt and equity. The transaction has been led by the current AFI management team, led by David McNicholas and Chairman David Shipman, and delivers them control of the Group through a significant majority stake at this important stage of development. The overall deal size for the combined transactions totals in the region of £160m. 

AFI is also pleased to report a good year of trading performance for 2018, with a strong rise in EBITDA despite a challenging year for the industry. For a business founded just over 20 years ago, revenues for the enlarged group will be over £100m. Management remain committed to delivering further profitable growth with the backing of Pricoa. 

Following today’s announcements, David McNicholas, Chief Executive Officer of AFI-Uplift commented:

“We are really pleased to be adding the Facelift business and a strong team of experienced people to the Group. It’s a complementary fit to our existing business, allowing us to consolidate our position in the truck-mounted access market and strengthen our self-propelled mobile elevating work platform business. We are excited to welcome Pricoa as our new financial backer, knowing that they share our vision for the potential to develop the business from here. We are hugely grateful for the support and advice from Rutland, which has allowed us to achieve a significant amount over the last six years.” 

Gordon Leicester, founder and majority shareholder of Facelift commented “We are delighted to have completed the sale of Facelift to AFI. The Facelift business has been built over 30 years and this deal will see AFI continue to support the business in the next stage of its development.”

Ed Jolly, Managing Director at Pricoa Private Capital commented: 

“We are delighted to have secured a relationship with the strong management team at AFI, a business we have followed for some time. We share management’s view of the great opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to playing a part in the continued development of the Group in the UK and the Middle East.” 

Oliver Jones, Rutland Partners, commented: 

“We have enjoyed a successful relationship with the team at AFI over the past six years and are pleased that we have been able to support the business to double in size, and broaden its service offering and geographic footprint since our original investment. We wish David and his team all the best for the future.”