R & G Fluid Power Group acquires Hydraproducts Ltd as it seeks European growth

(L-R) Ben Lee, John Stopher, Richard Davies, Sue Green & Rick Dring

A 20-year-old company that manufactures hydraulic power packs has been sold in a deal completed by Crawley-based corporate finance specialists Watersheds.

Hydraproducts Ltd, which was established in Gloucester in 2002 by entrepreneur Ben Lee, has been sold to R & G Fluid Power Group.

R&G is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of aftermarket fluid power parts, components and assemblies, whose head office is in Preston, and which has an annual turnover of around £75m.

After working for some of the major players in hydraulic engineering in Italy and in the UK, Lee established Hydraproducts in the UK, having identified a gap in the market for modular hydraulic power units. He slowly but consistently grew Hydraproducts, capitalising on his experience of working in continental Europe. Over the years he took on and retained a number of talented and reliable staff who have remained loyal to the company.

Watersheds Partner Yuri Fernandes said that despite the fact that Ben wished to exit his business relatively soon after sale, Watersheds were able to generate half a dozen different offers for the business, which was testament to the incredible strength of the business Ben had built.

“Ben started the business from nothing and has made it a great success, but felt that he needed to pass the baton on to a larger organisation to enable his staff to reach their full potential and allow the business to enter its next stage of growth,” said Yuri Fernandes.

“With the backing of R&G, Hydraproducts will be well-positioned to expand and grow.

“The hydraulic marketplace is quite niche, but we were able to source potential buyers completely confidentially, including some which Ben wouldn’t have thought to approach.

“Although Ben was initially concerned that some of R & G Group’s companies were potential competitors to Hydraproducts, we recognised that by acquiring the business they would gain a strong presence in the hydraulic power pack market – a key market they were lacking presence in, and establish a strong foundation to begin cross border trade into continental Europe.

“As well as recognising the huge potential for R & G, the group also valued the strength and competency of Ben’s existing management team. This gave them the confidence to be able to accommodate Ben’s wish for a clean exit after a sensible handover period. All R&G companies are locally managed by experienced staff who pride themselves on their extensive product knowledge and understanding of local markets and customer needs.”

Ben Lee said: “When I began thinking about passing the business on, I had no idea of what the company could be worth, how I should find and approach potential buyers, and how I could negotiate a relatively early exit.

“Watersheds did a tremendous job of sourcing a wide choice of offers, while maintaining total confidentiality in what is a very small world, and the final result far exceeded my initial expectations.

“I am confident that, as part of the R&G Group, Hydraproducts and its staff will have the resources to continue the success story and take the business to a new level.”

Legal advisors for Hydraproducts were Thrings of Swindon; Forbes of Preston advised R&G.