Wakefield company acquires powered access firm and secures new long-term financing


Wakefield-based AFI-Uplift Limited has acquired Facelift (GB) Limited and secured new long-term financing from Pricoa Private Capital.

Facelift is a long-established powered access rental business with a strong heritage in the truck mounted platform market. Founded in Hickstead in 1986, it has built an enviable market position in its rental business and its complementary training business. Facelift reported revenues of £12m for 2018 and has a total rental fleet of over 700 machines.

AFI plans to retain and develop the Facelift brand, with Paul Standing, Facelift’s MD, set to join the AFI board following the acquisition. The acquisition takes AFI’s UK rental fleet to 7,500 machines and allows it to substantially add scale to its existing business.

The acquisition of Facelift will particularly strengthen AFI’s offering in the self-drive truck and van mounted platform markets and is an excellent geographic fit to Wilson, AFI’s existing truck mounted business.

The acquisition also marks an important step in the continued development of the Group as it delivers a successful exit for Rutland Partners, marking the end of a productive partnership spanning over six years. Having invested in AFI in a complex and transformational three-business combination deal in 2013, Rutland has fully supported the significant growth initiatives of recent years and is realising a strong return. Pricoa, the private capital provider to middle-market companies, will invest £60m through a combination of debt and equity.

The transaction has been led by the current AFI management team, led by David McNicholas and Chairman David Shipman, and delivers them control of the Group through a significant majority stake at this important stage of development. The overall deal size for the combined transactions totals in the region of £160m.

David McNicholas said: “We are really pleased to be adding the Facelift business and a strong team of experienced people to the Group. It’s a complementary fit to our existing business, allowing us to consolidate our position in the truck-mounted access market and strengthen our self-propelled mobile elevating work platform business. We are excited to welcome Pricoa as our new financial backer, knowing that they share our vision for the potential to develop the business from here. We are hugely grateful for the support and advice from Rutland, which has allowed us to achieve a significant amount over the last six years.”

Gordon Leicester, founder and majority shareholder of Facelift commented “We are delighted to have completed the sale of Facelift to AFI. The Facelift business has been built over 30 years and this deal will see AFI continue to support the business in the next stage of its development.”