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Drainage experts Clear-flow sold to industry leader Lanes Group

South West drainage specialist Clear-flow Ltd has been sold to Lanes Group Plc following a competitive sales process led by PKF Francis Clark.

A subsidiary of Goonvean Holdings, Clear-flow operates across Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, employing around 100 people. It provides a variety of services, ranging from tankering to drain unblocking and CCTV drainage surveys, principally to commercial customers including South West Water.

Headquartered in Leeds, Lanes Group is a national drainage company providing services for utility, rail, local government, transportation, construction, telecoms and domestic sectors. The company was established in Leeds in 1992 and is now made up of a network of 25 locations in the UK, with a workforce of more than 4,000 people.

The acquisition of Clear-flow will support Lanes Group’s ambitions for UK expansion, bringing together two strategically aligned businesses – which are both established players in the utility market. Clear-flow will also bolster Lanes Group’s existing commercial activity in the South West.

A team at PKF Francis Clark, comprising Andrew Killick, Dave Armstrong and Brad Anderson, advised the shareholders of Clear-flow on the sale of the business.

Matthew Gazzard, managing director of Goonvean Holdings, said: “We received interest from a potential buyer and decided to use PKF Francis Clark to run a full sales process where they introduced other potential names. During the process, the team were able to enhance the offers received and helped to negotiate a successful transaction, which included them negating an attempted reduction in the bridge between enterprise value and the equity value.”

With headquarters in St Day, near Redruth, and additional depots in Liverton, near Newton Abbot, and Yeovil, Clear-flow was founded by Chris Hustler in 1982. The business was grown by his sons James and Timothy before being acquired by the Goonvean group in 2011.

Brad Anderson, corporate finance manager at PKF Francis Clark, said: “Having built a reputation for exceptional service levels over four decades and achieved strong growth in recent years, Clear-flow represents an excellent strategic acquisition for Lanes Group. We were pleased to support the shareholders throughout the sale process and wish Clear-flow continued success as part of the Lanes Group.”

Legal advice to Clear-flow was provided by Rob Ridd and Megan James, of Clarke Willmott. Lanes Group was advised by Keith Kennedy, of Pearson Legal, and James Wild and Rikesh Patel, of RSM (financial and tax due diligence).

Find out more about PKF Francis Clark’s experienced team of corporate finance specialists.

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