Franchise Brands' on the acquisition of WPL Group

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We have advised Franchise Brands Plc, an international multi-brand franchisor on its acquisition of WPL Group Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries Willow Pumps Limited and Willow Drainage Limited for a consideration of up to £12.5m.

Franchise Brands Plc, a multi-brand franchisor, has acquired a leading water pump supply, installation and servicing business to complement and expand Metro Rod's drainage and plumbing businesses. 

Willow Pumps, founded in 1992, is a leading water pump supply, installation and servicing business, with a below-ground (foul water) and above-ground (fresh water) capability. Willow Pumps’ founder and Managing Director Ian Lawrence, will continue to manage the business and becomes part of Franchise Brands’ senior management team. Willow Pumps will continue to operate as a direct labour organisation (DLO) within Franchise Brands, working closely with Metro Rod and its franchisees and benefiting from the Group's management, resources, and commercial customer relationships.

Commenting on the acquisition, Stephen Hemsley, Executive Chairman of Franchise Brands, said: “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Willow Pumps, which represents an important step in expanding Metro Rod’s scope of services to the commercial market, consistent with our Vision 2023 strategy.

“The deal structure also provides a significant incentive for Willow Pump’s management team to continue to grow its existing business by developing the many national accounts where Metro Rod only provides drainage services at present. As such, the Board of Franchise Brands believes the acquisition will be significantly earnings enhancing for the Group.

“I am really looking forward to working with Ian Lawrence and his high quality management team to create a national leader for drainage, pumps and plumbing services.”

Ian Lawrence, the founder and Managing Director of Willow Pumps, commented, “I am very excited about building on our success to date as part of a larger, publicly quoted group with significant ambitions in the drainage, pumps and plumbing markets. The Group’s management and wider resources will be of particular value as we continue to grow Willow Pumps under Franchise Brands’ ownership.

“My team and I welcome the opportunity to work with Metro Rod franchisees all across the country and we look forward to working with Metro Rod to deliver first-class pump services and support to their national accounts.”

Paul Cliff who advised on the deal said, “It was great for the Gateley team to work with Franchise Brands Plc on their latest acquisition. We are delighted to have supported the group since its IPO in 2016.”

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