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Commercial vehicle bodybuilder Paneltex acquire Trans Load

As part of a progressive expansion programme, leading UK bodybuilder Paneltex Ltd has acquired the assets and business of Andover based bodybuilder Trans Load Ltd for an undisclosed sum. With immediate effect, the business will be trading under the new name of Paneltex Trans Load.

Although the newly acquired business has now become a subsidiary of the Paneltex group of companies, it will continue to be run as a stand-alone business at its existing site in Andover, under the guidance of current Managing Director John Underhill.

This latest deal by Paneltex follows on from the company’s other commercial vehicle industry acquisitions during the past 2 years, including Somers Refrigeration Ltd and Martrans Ltd.

Announcing details of the Trans Load acquisition, Paneltex’s Managing Director Chris Berridge said, "Paneltex has had a Southern based manufacturing facility for over 2 ½ years and its success has meant that we really needed to expand the available production capacity to meet with the increasing customer demand for our products. By acquiring the Trans Load business, we now have an established and much larger manufacturing facility in the south, which is capable of producing at least 50 bodies a month, whilst most importantly increasing the sales, service and product support for our growing southern customer base.

Chris continues, "The synergy between the two businesses is excellent. This move gives Paneltex considerable future opportunities in the south of England, using Trans Load’s proven track record in manufacturing, whilst it also provides Trans Load with the opportunity to develop new areas of business using Paneltex’s manufacturing expertise, particularly in terms of temperature controlled bodywork."

Formed in 1994, Trans Load was owned and managed by John and Rita Underhill, manufacturing predominantly dry freight bodies, with specialist products serving the airfreight, computer, fine arts and municipal/utilities markets. With a £3.5 million turnover, the new division Paneltex Trans Load will employ 30 staff in total and have over 27,000 ft.² of production capacity to support the Trans Load and Paneltex products.

As part of the deal, John Underhill stays on as Managing Director of Paneltex Trans Load, with Rita Underhill continuing as Company Secretary. All existing staff from Paneltex’s current manufacturing site in Andover have transferred over to the new company.

Commenting on the change of ownership, John Underhill said, "This move recognises the success of the Trans Load product, and the manufacturing excellence of our staff, here in Andover. It is pleasing that a company such as Paneltex, with its proud traditions and equally successful history within the commercial vehicle industry, have become our new owners, thereby ensuring that the company and its products will continue long term into the future."

With its head office based in Hull, Paneltex Ltd now consists of a group of companies specialising principally in the manufacture of insulated vehicle bodies as well as van, truck and trailer products for customised applications. With established names such as Paneltex Ltd, Somers Refrigeration Ltd and Martrans Ltd now all part of the Paneltex Group of Companies, the acquisition of Trans Load expands even further the broad offering of commercial vehicle products available from the Group.

"Paneltex has grown considerably from its origins back in 1991 to become a well respected and reputable manufacturing company serving the commercial vehicle industry. The purchase of the successful Trans Load business is a welcome addition to our product portfolio and will consolidate our leading position, enabling us to increase even further the range of products that we can supply to our customers," added Chris Berridge.

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