Aberdeen Murray Johnstone backs £5m MBO

Engine-supply company First Line has been in receivership since October 2000 despite the fact that it has been consistently profitable in the 17 years since it was set up..

Private equity firm Aberdeen Murray Johnstone has backed the £5m management buyout of First Line, a supplier of engine, chassis and braking parts.

The company was previously a subsidiary of Finelist and as such went into receivership despite the fact that the business had been consistently profitable since it was founded by Peter Joyner and John Madden 17 years ago. Stratford-based Finelist collapsed in October 2000.

Peter Joyner who has returned as managing director of First Line, said: “John Madden and I founded First Line in 1983. We are both delighted that we have found a supportive funder and been able to buy our business back. Along with the rest of the team, John and I now look forward to being able to develop the business further.”

Pete Clarke, investment manager, Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity: said: “First Line is a well-established supplier of automotive parts to the aftermarket and has always been a profitable business. This MBO gave us the opportunity to back a strong, experienced management team, led by Peter Joyner, who have shown that they have the skills and experience necessary to grow the business within this market.”

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance provided banking facilities.

When Finelist, the UK distributor of car parts, called in the receivers in October 2000, CDC Equity Capital, Butler Capital Partners and Axa Asset Management Private Equity were said to be looking at possible losses of several millions of pounds. Also exposed were investors of $275m of mezzanine debt. A syndicate of eight banks, having supplied total senior debt facilities worth $538m under the stewardship of Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas had reason for concern as well.