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Gloucester company involved in saving reservoir dam from collapse sold to Nordic Group

5 March 2021
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A company that helped save Toddbrook Reservoir Dam from collapsing and flooding the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge in August 2019 has been sold to a Nordic group, despite the current lockdown. The deal was completed by Swindon-based corporate finance specialists Watersheds.

Pump Supplies Limited, which has a major office at Moreton Valance near Gloucester, provides electric submersible pumps to a range of industries, has been bought by the pump aftermarket specialists Lakers Group, which has a large part of its business within the water and wastewater segment.

Pump Supplies was founded in 1982 by Andrew John, when he acquired a fleet of submersible pumps from a former employer that was re-focussing its business. Over the following 20 years Andrew and his fellow director Barry Jones expanded beyond his firm’s original South Wales headquarters to open depots in Gloucester, Bodmin in Cornwall, Wexford in Southern Ireland and Winsford in Cheshire.  One of the company’s core values was always to continue to invest in its fleet.

Pump Supplies, which has an annual turnover of £20 million, now boasts the largest fleet of electric submersible pumps in the UK, and benefits from a highly skilled workforce.

Around half of the company’s turnover is derived from the UK’s municipal water companies, but Pump Supplies also works on civil engineering projects and with local authorities, utility companies, mines and quarries.

Its highest profile work tends to be in providing emergency relief in response to extreme flooding.  The company worked on the alleviation of the South Yorkshire floods of 2019 and the Somerset Levels on several occasions in recent years.

Possibly its most memorable operation to date has been the contribution it made in providing a vast number of pumps and pipework from stock to help save Toddbrook Reservoir Dam from collapse and flooding the town of Whaley Bridge in August 2019. Following 48-hours of unprecedented rainfall, the dam look set to burst. Engineers, supported by equipment and expertise supplied by Pump Supplies, pumped water from the 300-million-gallon Toddbrook Reservoir and eventually the risk of collapse dissipated.

Lakers, headquartered in Oslo, Norway has over 350 employees across Northern Europe and by adding Pump Supplies to the group will reach an annual turnover of close to £100m.  The Lakers group is backed by Summa Equity and has to date made 25 acquisitions over a 5-year period.  Its ambitious growth plans made the acquisition of Pump Supplies a strategic one; securing a stronghold in the UK via the purchase of one of the most highly specialist, reputable players in the market.

Jessica Painter, a partner with corporate finance specialists Watersheds, said the firm is delighted to help Andrew achieve his ambition, particularly during the third lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Having confidentially marketed the business last year we helped Andrew find the right buyer for his business of nearly 40 years.  There had to be an alignment of culture ensuring staff would be looked after as he had done, and customers continuing to receive the high service levels that the company prized itself on.

“Andrew accepted Lakers’ offer at the turn of the New Year and the deal completed within 10 weeks of the first discussion.”

Andrew said: “I can’t thank Watersheds and Jessica enough for their help and guidance, particularly at a time when many deals are collapsing because of the uncertainty around the pandemic.

“They made the entire process so easy for me.  It has been a great journey for the past 39 years.  One that I have thoroughly enjoyed with the support of some great people and customers over the years, and I’m very much looking forward to the next stage.”

The legal advice on the sale was provided by John Davies and Simon Hore of Thrings.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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