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CorpAcq expands by acquiring United Forktrucks (1992)

Investment group CorpAcq has bought a forklift truck business with eight depots across the Midlands and southern England.

CorpAcq, based in Altrincham, has acquired United Forktrucks (1992), which has its head office in Thetford, Norfolk, and employs 86 staff across its operations.

United Forktrucks is a £6.5m-turnover business which was founded in 1992 and has grown organically and through a series of acquisitions. It sells, hires out, maintains and services forklift trucks, and provides specialist training to forklift drivers.

The business was owned by four shareholders, the largest of whom was Michael Underwood, who has exited following the sale to CorpAcq.

The others are Paul Nichol and Rodney Forder, who remain as managing director and maintenance manager respectively, and finance director Chris Compson, who is staying on as a consultant.

United Forktrucks will retain its brand and identity but will operate as part of Carrylift Group, which is owned by CorpAcq.

The deal extends Carrylift’s geographical reach into new areas of the country. It has its HQ in Skelmersdale, West Lancashire, and depots in Gateshead, Glasgow, Shotton on Deeside and Stoke.

Simon Orange, the founder and chairman of CorpAcq, said: “This is our fourth acquisition in the materials handling sector and represents an excellent bolt-on for Carrylift. There are great operational synergies between the businesses.

“The acquisition enables Carrylift to extend its geographical reach into the south, where until now it has had little presence. It also assists Carrylift in serving national customers more effectively.

“Using the experience of Carrylift’s management team, we will be exploring opportunities to expand United Forktrucks further.

“CorpAcq continues to seek suitable acquisition opportunities with a number of deals in the pipeline for completion over the next few months.”

CorpAcq, which earlier this year secured a £25m funding boost from corporate credit specialist Alcentra, owns businesses in the building services, manufacturing, precision engineering, packaging and plant and generator hire sectors in addition to materials handling.

Lee Teste, of Summerlin Corporate Finance, and Mary Erb, of law firm Fieldfisher, advised CorpAcq on the United Forktrucks acquisition. Geoff Hazlewood, head of the corporate and commercial team at East Anglian law firm Ashton KCJ, advised the United Forktruck shareholders.

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