From small acorns

From small acorns

From small acorns

BHP Corporate Finance is delighted to have advised the shareholders of Rotherham headquartered Acorn Industrial Services Group on its sale to Swedish multi-national group, Axel Johnson AB.

With annual turnover in excess of £20 million, Acorn Industrial Services Group is a distributor of bearings, linear systems, power transmission and related services. Founded in 1983, the company has grown into a respected industrial parts distributor of quality products from industry leading manufacturers. Employing in the region of 100 people, the company has 9 sales branches throughout the UK and an e-commerce platform supporting customers throughout Europe. Acorn is well-known for its high technical competence, excellent logistics and market leading e-commerce platform.

Axel Johnson AB is a £6 billion revenue privately owned Swedish trading and services group employing over 20,000 people. Acorn will become part of Axel Johnson International, the technology trading division that supplies products, systems and services to industrial customers across Europe.

Acorn directors Martin Povey and Des Spillings originally acquired the business in a management buy-out in 2006 and will continue to lead and drive forward the company’s continued growth strategies. Managing Director Des Spillings commented. “Acorn has grown tremendously over the last 10 years and to continue our growth, and more importantly, to grow at a quicker pace, we needed to align ourselves with a business that could bring with it skills and resources that we do not have currently. With the European market place changing and consolidating quicker than at any time in the past 20 years, we had to find the right partner for the future and we believe Axel Johnson International to be this partner”.

BHP provided integrated corporate finance and tax advice to the shareholders. Partner Don Gray commented “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to advise on this transaction.  Since acquiring Acorn in 2006, Des and Martin have grown the business three-fold through a combination of organic development and carefully targeted acquisitions.  The successful sale to Axel Johnson is a testimony to their strategy of building a leading independent distributor in specialist technical markets and reflects the continued interest we are seeing from overseas buyers in UK companies”.

By Don Gray

Partner, BHP Corporate Finance