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Hampshire: Meridian, Blake Morgan, Trethowans advise on MBO at car part manufacturer

By Dan Teuton
14 June 2017

A Hampshire-based business that makes complex kinetic parts for major car manufacturers has been acquired by three senior members of its existing management team after securing a multi-million pound finance package from HSBC.

Law firm Blake Morgan advised HSBC on the finance deal that supported the management buyout. Meridian Corporate Finance structured, led and project-managed the management buyout from beginning to end, and law firm Trethowans acted for the company. Accountancy firm KPMG performed financial and commercial due diligence.

The MBO of CT Automotive, which was established in Portsmouth in 2000, sees two of the three original founders – Jason Philips and Oliver Whitfield – bought out of the business.

The new management team consists of Scott McKenzie, managing director since 2014; David Wilkinson, group finance director since 2011; and Simon Phillips, co-founder and executive chairman.

Anthony Reed, HSBC’s area director for Hampshire & Dorset, commented: “HSBC has banked CT Automotive since 2000 and in that time the business has gone from strength to strength, undergoing a massive period of growth and employing more than 2,000 people.

“We would like to thank the team at Blake Morgan for their help in securing this latest round of funding – which means the management team can continue to grow the business and explore new markets.”

Steve Cole, banking & finance partner at Blake Morgan, said: "We are pleased to have played a key role in this transaction, which further enhances our reputation as leading legal advisors on corporate and financial transactions in the region."

Michael Barcia, director at Meridian Corporate Finance, commented: “I have known David Wilkinson since our early corporate finance days and was truly excited to be engaged by such an excellent high-growth business. The management buyout involved balancing the needs of multiple shareholders including providing an exit for non-operational individuals.”

Lucy Grey, partner at Trethowans, added: “The corporate and commercial team at Trethowans has been involved in an increasing number of cross-border transactions, which meant we were well-suited to assist the management team on this MBO. CT Automotive is a leading manufacturer in the automotive industry which has seen significant expansion in recent years, and has continued plans for growth under its new executive management team. We wish them every success in the future.”

David Wilkinson, group finance director at CT Automotive, said: "A key driver of the MBO was to enable two of the shareholders to exit the business, though the deal has also been structured to allow us to provide equity incentives to additional senior members of the team who are key to our ongoing success.

"HSBC has supported CT Automotive since inception, and this latest round of funding allows us to continue running successfully and without outside influence. We are also particularly grateful to our partners at Trethowans, KPMG and Meridian for helping us achieve the MBO and for their continued support."

CT Automotive has grown to a $100 million revenue multinational group with manufacturing locations in Shenzen and Ganzhou in China, Istanbul in Turkey and Sunderland in the UK.