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MBO builds on success for Sheffield structural engineering specialist

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The senior management team at Sheffield based Ekspan Limited has completed the management buyout (MBO) of the award-winning structural engineering specialist.

hlw Keeble Hawson acted for Phillip Lawton, operations director, Richard Orrell, contracts director, Christopher Wood, financial director and the three additional senior managers Robert Carter, Robert Lancaster and Spencer Goff.

Ekspan Holdings Limited is a new company formed to purchase Ekspan Limited and Ekspan International Limited from Peter Dronfield who founded the group of companies 24 years ago. 

The 43-strong workforce at Ekspan now operates in many sectors worldwide with high profile projects including the first glass walkway for pedestrians at Tower Bridge, London which has just been unveiled.

The hlw Keeble Hawson team – which has experienced a surge of deals including MBOs across 2014 – comprised Roger Dyson, head of the corporate and business team, corporate partner Chris Wilson, corporate solicitor Sarah Robinson and commercial property partner Paul Gibbon.

The deal was completed with assistance and support funding from Barclays.

Ekspan director Chris Wood said: “As Britain’s leading structural bearing specialists, Ekspan’s track record is second to none. With a strong order book and potential for additional growth, the MBO will enable the management team to take the business to the next level.

“We appointed Roger and the hlw Keeble Hawson team because of the firm’s breadth and depth of expertise in the deals market. At the same time we knew the whole team would take the time to care about the deal and make sure it reached a successful conclusion.”

Roger Dyson, who was singled out for praise in the latest Chambers legal directory, said: “Founded in 1990 with just a handful of employees, Ekspan has marked year-on-year expansion as it continues to secure a raft of national and global contracts.

“The MBO team has been instrumental in the company’s growth and we wish them continued success.”       

Matthew Chenery, relationship director at Barclays, said: “We are delighted to have been instrumental in helping the management team successfully deliver the management buyout transaction which now sees them owning the company they have worked for over many years.

“The business has a positive order book and this deal demonstrates that Barclays is open for business for quality transactions in Yorkshire.”

Peter Dronfield was represented by Nabarro LLP. Corporate advice was provided by partner Ben Hendry and associate Richard Lee, whilst managing associate David Stanbridge advised on the banking and finance elements.

Ben Hendry said: “We are delighted to have worked on this local MBO and we wish the management team all the success for the future.”

Award-winning dealmaker hlw Keeble Hawson is one of Yorkshire’s biggest law firms with offices in Leeds, Sheffield and Doncaster.  

Ekspan MBO
Andrew Marsh, Barclays; Richard Orrell, Christopher Wood and Phillip Lawton from Ekspan; and Matthew Chenery, Barclays

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