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Driver Hire secures LDC backing

Mid-market private equity investor LDC has backed the management team of Bradford-based Driver Hire Investments Group Limited (Driver Hire), the franchised provider of temporary and permanent personnel to the logistics and distribution industries, to support its continued growth.

Driver Hire, which was originally established in 1983, operates nationally through a 100-strong network of offices, predominantly owned and operated by franchisees. It services around 5,000 corporate customers with fully compliant LGV, van, fork lift truck and fleet car drivers, warehouse operatives and professional logistics managers on both a short-term and long-term basis. It is also now one of the UK’s leading providers of Driver CPC training.

Franchisees gain access to a range of benefits, including revenue growth from the nationwide customer relationships it secures, a driver training provision, guidance on legal and regulatory compliance, major marketing programmes and business support, such as IT and billing.

Major structural changes in the logistics sector, such as the increase in just-in-time manufacturing processes and the growth of home delivery from ever-increasing online retail sales, are requiring logistics operators to be far more flexible, driving demand for short-term, temporary drivers. As a result, in its latest financial year, Driver Hire’s total network turnover rose 22 per cent to GBP66.5m.

Led by its Leeds office, LDC has invested an undisclosed sum for a significant shareholding, providing an exit for Spirit Capital who backed the business in 2004 (as Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity). Debt funding was provided by Yorkshire Bank Corporate and Structured Finance.

Chris Chidley, CEO of Driver Hire, says: "Securing the financial backing and support of a proven investment partner such as LDC is a very positive endorsement for our business. Their scale, reach and expertise will provide us with the support tocreate further growth opportunities for the group.This is excellent news for our employees and our franchisees, all of whom will benefit directly from increased long-term investment in our businessand our brand."

John Swarbrick (pictured), a senior director at LDC, says: "Driver Hire is a robust business led by a proven management team. The commitment of its franchisees drives exceptional levels of customer service quality. Combined with its market leading training offering and significant industry and regulatory knowledge, this enables the business to provide a differentiated and value-added proposition to customers.

"We believe the company has numerous potential organic growth opportunities and so LDC is delighted to have the opportunity to back the team and provide them with the support to fulfil their ambitions for the business."

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