Third generation family buyout for Farrat Isolevel

An engineering company has undergone a third-generation family buyout in a multi-million-pound deal.

Chief Executive Oliver Farrell, whose grandfather founded Farrat Isolevel, has acquired a majority stake in the Altrincham-based business from his parents John and Gabriele, his aunt and his brother Andrew.

Richard Farrell established the business in 1959 and John later took the helm.

Oliver has worked in the company in a senior role for 14 years and has been a major driver in its growth. Farrat, which has 42 staff, had a record year in 2019.

Farrat is a global specialist in the design and manufacture of vibration control, building acoustics, thermal isolation and precision levelling solutions for a range of construction and industrial sectors.

It has expanded in recent years with an international focus under a leadership team appointed as part of the company’s succession planning.

The senior team includes finance director Kathryn Goulden, technical director Ryan Arbabi, Paul Mellish as engineering and operations director and Mike Innes as non-executive chairman.

As part of the deal, Farrat has acquired AcouStruct, a specialist installer of floating floor and structural isolation systems.

Earlier in the year, Farrat acquired Universal Vibration Solutions, which is a specialist noise and vibration engineering consultancy.

Those businesses along with Farrat have now been brought together in the newly-created EOM Group Holdings, with Oliver as group chief executive.

Ben Bradley, of HURST Corporate Finance, and Adrian Young, a partner in HURST’s tax team, advised Farrat’s management on the buyout.

Bernard McIlroy of MSA Law, Simon Wallwork and Janet Robinson of law firm Slater Heelis and Tarifa Simpson of Mazars also advised on the transaction.

Sam Roden and Darren Martin of HSBC UK Business Banking arranged a multi-million pound funding package for the deal.

Ben Bradley said: “Farrat is a fantastic business, built on strong foundations, which will go from strength to strength under the leadership of Oliver and his senior management team.

“The business, operating in challenging sectors impacted by Covid-19, has demonstrated its resilience due to the expertise of its workforce and its market-leading technology, products and services.

“I have full confidence in Oliver’s ability to continue to drive the business forward and capitalise on growth opportunities in the UK and internationally.

“It has been a pleasure working alongside Oliver and the team over recent months and I wish them all the very best for the future.”

Farrat is renowned for its niche expertise in the design and manufacture of innovative solutions for technically-challenging engineering projects across the UK and worldwide, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and South America.

It has a wide and varied portfolio of high-performance vibration, acoustic and thermal isolation solutions which are supplied through a growing network of distributors.

The company’s clients include steel fabricators, contractors, structural engineers, architects, acoustic consultants and developers.

Farrat’s industrial vibration control division supports sectors including manufacturing, canning, automotive and power to help overcome the costly effects of vibration in industrial machinery and building structures.

Its structural thermal breaks team supports designers and fabricators in the construction industry to create energy-efficient, compliant buildings, eliminating the risk of thermal bridging and heat loss in buildings such as high-rise apartments, universities, schools, data centres, leisure venues and airports, using certified thermal break solutions.

Farrat’s building acoustics team works closely with architects, acoustic consultants and structural engineers to design systems for spaces where vibration control or high levels of sound insulation are required.

These include schemes in the residential, commercial and leisure sectors with typical projects being hotels, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys and nightclubs.

Among the north west schemes it has been involved with are the intu Trafford Centre, Terminal Two at Manchester Airport, Everyman Cinema in Altrincham and Manchester’s latest flagship arts venue project The Factory, which is soon to be home to the Manchester International Festival.

Oliver Farrell said: “We have been a proudly family-owned business since our foundation over 60 years ago, and that continues to be the case.

“My brother Andrew and I have been leading Farrat jointly for the last five years and we have successfully grown our business in our key areas of vibration control and structural thermal breaks.

“This has only been possible through the strong relationships we have built with our suppliers and customers.

“We have now decided that the time is right to restructure the business, with Andrew stepping down and myself moving into a position of group CEO.

“This will allow me, along with our team, to continue to drive forward our Farrat vision of ‘Engineers on a Mission’ and enable Andrew to focus on developing other interests in property.

“With support from HSBC UK, I have now become the major shareholder of the holding company EOM Group Holdings, which has full ownership of Farrat Isolevel, Farrat Switzerland and AcouStruct.

“My father John has retired, but retains both a shareholding and a strong interest in the ongoing development of Farrat.”

Commenting further on the buyout, Oliver said: “This would not have been possible without a huge collective effort both internally and externally through the highly-capable, professional and personalised support provided by HURST, MSA Law, Slater Heelis and HSBC UK.”

He added: “There are and will be no changes to the operational business of Farrat and in that sense it is very much ‘business as usual’.

“I now look forward to leading our wonderful, talented and dedicated team in our mission to delight our customers, wherever they are in the world, with the best technical solutions to their engineering challenges.”