Derbyshire Plant & Tool Hire Firm Acquisition Completes

Derbyshire-based tool, plant, access and power generation hire specialist Mainline Hire Group has been acquired by AER Rents – part of O’Flaherty Holdings Group – for an undisclosed sum in a deal which our expert Corporate team advised on.

Mainline Hire
Alice Rees

Mainline Hire Group – which includes Mainline Tool & Plant Hire and Mainline Access & Training – was founded by Keith Williams and Carole Poynton in 1982. Since then, the firm has grown to become one of the region’s leading plant hire and equipment sales companies, serving an extensive customer base throughout the Midlands and home counties.

The business will continue to function as a standalone brand within AER Rents, with all 34 employees remaining with the firm, including Mr Williams and Mrs Poynton.

Corporate Partner, Alice Rees, and Associate, Isabelle Munyabarenzi, from our Corporate team in Nottingham acted for Mr Williams and Mrs Poynton. Senior Associate, Paul Hinchliffe, and Legal Director, Melanie Morton, from our Employment Law team, provided property support and employment advice respectively.

Alice said:

“The transaction started towards the end of 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic hit. Once the government-ordered lockdowns and restrictions were introduced in March, all subsequent meetings had to take place virtually, which was very much an unknown during the early days of Covid.

“This was a transaction that required a team effort when none of us could be in the same room. We have a strong and close working relationship with Jacksons Accountants, which made it work for the clients.

 “To have been able to get the acquisition over the line in the midst of multiple lockdowns was a real achievement for everyone involved. It was extremely satisfying to finally put pen to paper, especially just before Christmas.”

O’Flaherty Holdings was founded in the 1940s. Its subsidiaries include Motor Distributors Limited, distributors in Ireland of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars and commercial vehicles, and MSL – a network of independent motor dealerships providing sale and after-sales services for Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Skoda.

The group first invested in plant hire in 2014, with the acquisition of London-based Mr Plant Hire. In 2019, the group also acquired Ireland-based, Drogheda Hire & Sales. Each business retains its identity, while capitalising on the strengths of their collective offerings and reach across the UK and Ireland.

Together with the previously acquired businesses, the AER Rents group now offers a combined fleet of almost 1,500 modern-powered access machines, making it the 12th largest UK access supplier by fleet size.

Mr Williams and Mrs Poynton said:

“We have always had a good working relationship with Mr Plant Hire and are pleased to have the opportunity to become part of the AER Rents family. Mainline has always invested in class-leading assets and AER Rents’ investment will give the business and its customers access to expertise and resources to support our growth plans.”

Julian Jackson, Director at Jacksons Chartered Certified Accountants, who also supported Mr Williams and Mrs Poynton with the deal, added:

“I’ve worked with Keith and Carole, both personally and professionally, for a number of years now and I am very pleased to have been able to support them throughout the journey of this acquisition.

“Due to the complex nature of the deal, it was crucial to have a strong corporate law specialist to assist, which is why I referred Keith and Carole to Alice and the team at Nelsons.

“When it comes to acquisitions of this nature, it’s vital to have the confidence to recommend a firm you know will deliver the high level of service that clients have become accustomed to, and with Nelsons, that was never in doubt – even when we were adapting to brand-new ways of working due to the pandemic.”

AER Rents – which was advised by KPMG Corporate Finance & Legal Services, Dublin – will continue to expand its presence in the plant hire market through of a combination of strategic acquisitions and organic growth, offering its customers access to a wider offering of modern products and services.