Ashtead Plant Hire Company has bought three divisions of the Hewden Group for £29m after it went into administration, with more than 250 job losses.
A-Plant has acquired Hewden’s access and power generation assets, the onsite plant business, and the business and assets of Interlift.
Administrator EY said 133 staff will transfer across to Ashtead following the acquisition, with 251 staff made redundant across Hewden’s depot and onsite locations.
Hewden had been racing against the clock to refinance £190m of borrowings, which were due to expire in the coming months.
It was working with restructuring specialist Deloitte to refinance or sell the business.
But talks to find a financial backer failed to materialise, with Sam Woodward and Colin Dempster of EY’s restructuring team today appointed as joint administrators of Hewden businesses: Hewden Stuart; Hewden Properties; Interlift; and The Rigging House.
Mr Woodward said management had been attempting to “operationally reshape” the business to focus on higher margins and quicker-returning assets and services.
“However, this has proven challenging with the group’s capital structure and the recent trading environment,” he said.
“Management recently undertook a number of initiatives including approaching new funders and potential acquirers to recapitalise the business, but unfortunately these efforts proved unsuccessful.”
In an update to the City, A-Plant chief executive Sat Dhaiwal said: “This acquisition significantly enhances A-Plant’s offering in the industrial sector where we have been keen to develop our capabilities for some time.
“We are pleased to be taking over a number of important onsite depots at major petrochemical facilities and will ensure a high level of service is maintained for all customers through the integration process.”
EY’s Mr Woodward said the team was now assessing the best strategy for maximising value in the remainder of the Hewden Group.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work with stakeholders to maintain service levels to customers who have assets on hire.”
He added: “It is with regret that 251 people have been made redundant.
“Our specialist team will work with those affected to help them claim outstanding wages and other payments due from the Redundancy Payments Office.”