Pierce advises on seven-figure civil engineer buy-out

Murray Rix

A family-run firm of civil and geotechnical engineers has changed hands in a seven-figure buy-out that will secure its future as a leading independent in the industry.

Murray Rix based in Dukinfield has worked on some of the UK’s most high-profile projects including the Etihad Stadium, the Trafford Centre, and the Liverpool cruise liner terminal, as well as Canary Wharf and the Gherkin in London.

The deal gives control of the business to Owain Davies, who joined 10 years ago, and allows the current managing director Steve Hutchings, who is the son of the original founder, to realise the majority of his investment in the business.

Blackburn-based Pierce Corporate Finance advised on the deal, which was funded by an SME loan from Mercia.

Murray Rix currently employs 16 permanent staff in the North and in London and offers geotechnical reports and surveys for property developments and infrastructure projects, as well as ground investigation and consultancy support. It also has its own UKAS-accredited laboratory for testing soil, aggregates, and construction materials.

The company was established in 1994 by Anthony Hutchings. Steve Hutchings, who took over as managing director on his father’s death in 2008, will retain a stake and remain with the business to support its long-term growth plans.

The Pierce Corporate Finance team was led by Steven Bell, with tax advice provided by tax director, Nadeem Hussain.

Steven Bell, corporate finance director, said: “It was a pleasure to work with Owain and Stephen on this transaction, allowing Steve to realise a proportion of his investment in the business, whilst also providing a firm foundation for it to continue to develop its highly-regarded services. Having worked at the company for over 10 years, Owain was keen to build on the robust business that he had helped to build.”

Owain Davies, whose most recent role was as laboratory director, stated: ”I am delighted to have the opportunity to complete the management buy-out of Murray Rix and to continue the growth of the business which Steve, and his father before him, have helped to build. The team at Pierce, led by Steven Bell, was instrumental in keeping the deal on track, while the Mercia funding will maintain the solid financial foundation of the business. With the continued support of Steve and the rest of the team, I know we can continue to deliver the exceptional service that Murray Rix is renowned for.”

Mike Rogers, investment director at Mercia, added: “From its origins almost 30 years ago, Murray Rix has become one of the most respected independents in the industry. The family has always been very proud of their independent status, which they believe has been integral to the company’s success. This deal ensures it can maintain its independence under Owain’s leadership to safeguard the future of the business and its employees.”

John Porter and Shan Shahriar of Oldham-based Wrigley Claydon provided legal advice to the MBO team, while Val Stockley of Oldham-based North Ainsley advised the vendors.

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