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Downton buys C & H (Hauliers) Ltd from The Charles Gee Group

PUBLISHED: 16:27 29 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:28 29 October 2013

C M Downton Ltd has purchased C & H (Hauliers) Ltd, rescuing 180 jobs and saving the £23million turnover business from liquidation.

C&H’s parent company, The Charles Gee Group, went into administration on Monday 21 October, with Geoff Rowley, Phil Armstrong and Andrew Sheridan, partners of FRP Advisory LLP, the specialist restructuring, advisory and recovery firm, appointed as joint administrators. Downton confirmed the deal on Friday, October 25 following negotiations with FRP Advisory, and will take over all of C&H’s operations, effective immediately.

Andrew Downton, Managing Director, C M Downton Ltd, said: “The Downton Group has been looking to expand its business through either acquisition or mergers, and the C&H business was a perfect match. We both work in the same sectors – in particular with paper and publishing clients – and there are synergies for both businesses that made the deal a no-brainer.

“C&H is a fantastic business with a great heritage, which unfortunately had suffered through the cash flow difficulties of the holding company. To be able to save this business – and its staff – while driving forward our own business was too good an opportunity to turn down.

“We would like to clearly state that Downton has absolute confidence in Steve Mercer and the management team at C&H, and we will continue to work with them going forward as we build up this great business.”

Phil Armstrong, partner at FRP Advisory and joint administrator, said: “We are delighted to have found a new home in C M Downton for the business of C&H, its staff and its array of loyal customers.

“For more than 50 years C&H has transported core parts to Britain’s manufacturing base and its services have been integral to their success – that continuity of service is now secured under new ownership.

“We would like in particular to thank the support of C&H customers which helped ensure a successful, swift turnaround through the protection of the administration process. We wish the purchaser and everyone involved with the business continued success for the future.”

The deal means that 180 jobs are being rescued, with all employee rights fully protected under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. The acquisition also sees Downton take over significant assets, with 130 tractor units and 250 trailers added to the Gloucestershire-based haulier’s fleet.

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