Barclays doubles its money on Ravenstock

The private equity firm is enjoying a successful exit from the hire company investment it made four years ago.

Barclays Private Equity (BPE) has exited from Ravenstock Tam, a specialist equipment hire company based in the UK. Mobile Storage Group of the US has bought the business for an undisclosed sum as part of its expansion into Europe.

According to Brian Blakemore, a director at BPE, the firm has doubled the £11.5m investment it made in Ravenstock Tam when it backed a £23.4m MBO of the business from Goode Durrant in 1998.

“This investment went according to plan from the beginning, which is nice when it happens,” he said. “The size of the business and its marketshare grew as expected and the timing of our exit, considering the events of September, and the subsequent economic uncertainty, was spot on.”

Ravenstock Tam supplies mobile accommodation and steel storage units and the necessary furniture. The company began trading in 1991as an amalgamation of Tam Industrial Services, founded in 1974, and Ravenstock, formed in 1975. Since 1998, it has increased its fleet of cabins and containers from 11,500 to 16,000 and opened six more depots in the UK, taking the total number to 23 in cities such as Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds.

BPE was drawn to the company because the hire sector at that time was fragmented and the potential for growth and consolidation was good, said Blakemore. “We believed then the company was ideal for someone looking for a strong foothold in the UK and so it was good to see this purchase carried out by an American company intent on continuing its expansion into Europe.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance advised Ravenstock Tam on the sale and conducted a global auction on behalf of BPE.