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Four Seasons Group Continues Acquisition Strategy

The combined business boasts an impressive client list including H&M, William Hill, WH Smith, Ladbrokes, Nationwide Building Society, Waterstones, Costa Coffee, Swinton Insurance, Boots, La Senza, and Carphone Warehouse.

The Group, which employs 98 staff and has its headquarters in Leeds, has made the acquisition as the latest step in a ‘buy and build’ strategy with a view to becoming the leading UK specialist in its field. FSG made its first acquisition in May 2007, acquiring Surrey based Air Conditioning and Associated Services (AAS).

Tom Keeping, the CEO of FSG who took over the reins of the business when he led a Buy In Management Buyout in 2005, said “The management team is delighted with the opportunity to acquire HM Air Cooling and we are looking forward to continuing the successful growth of FSG both organically and through further value enhancing acquisitions,” he said.

Barclays Ventures, having provided equity finance in May 2007 to fund the acquisition of AAS, provided further equity finance, whilst senior debt and working capital was provided by Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets.

BTG McInnes Corporate Finance advised FSG on the deal that saw 100 per cent of the equity in HMAC being acquired from founder Henry Granata and fellow shareholder Dave Cooper. The former established HMAC in the mid 1980s and both will continue to play an important part in the future of both HMAC and the larger Group.

Dion Hirst, Investment Director at Barclays Ventures said: “We have worked with the management team for over 12 months and remain committed to building a specialist national player. The group is well set to build on its already impressive client base with this deal which expands its geographical reach. The deal also gives the group critical mass which will enable it to take advantage of the growth opportunities offered in the air conditioning sector.”

“We are delighted to be supporting the Group through this stage of its development and look forward to building a strong partnership that fully enables FSG to follow its considered, appealing strategy.” commented Rob Lawrence, Director at Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets’ acquisition finance team.

Andy Miller of BTG McInnes, who advised FSG, said: “The acquisition gives FSG better coverage of the growing UK market, significant economies of scale and enhances Group market share. This important second acquisition is likely to be followed by other similar deals as the buy and build strategy continues.”

Other advisors on the deal included Sean Fitzgerald and Nicola Frost of Cobbetts, advising FSG; Simon Owens of Hammonds, advising Lloyds TSB Corporate Markets; Mark Lister and Pete Melling of PKF, who carried out the financial due diligence; and Terry Leggett of MBD, who carried out the commercial due diligence.

Julie Palmer

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Julie Palmer

Regional Managing Partner

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Julie is a law graduate who qualified with Price Waterhouse in 1994. Julie joined Smith & Williamson in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. With Mike Stevenson, Julie set up Middleton Partners offices in Salisbury and Southampton, both of which are now part of Begbies Traynor.

Julie is a member of the Insolvency Practitioners Association and the None Administrative Receivers Association and is a Fellow of The Association of Business Recovery Professionals. Julie deals with all aspects of Corporate Recovery and turnaround work and takes all form of personal insolvency appointments.

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