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Space Engineering Services says Hillphoenix deal gives sure footing for growth

US-UK partnership will be great opportunity for the company to grow, says exiting chairman Rick Taylor

The backing of multi-billion dollar company Hillphoenix will set Space Engineering Services on a sure footing for growth, with scope for the Bristol firm to be the European hub for the US giant, according to Rick Taylor, the business’s exiting chairman.

The deal which sees the US business take a ‘substantial minority stake’ in Space Engineering, will see the Bristol management trio of Mark Woods, Dale Nouch and Charles Murphy continuing to run the contracting-to-packbuilding operation with increased equity stakes.

Hillphoenix has committed to support the Bristol pack business, Mr Taylor said, “It is great they are supporting British manufacturing.” Hillphoenix’s has a fully owned subsidiary Advansor, the Danish CO2 pack specialist, whom Space will also be working with.

The contractor, which turned over £102.7 million in the year to March 31 last year, and employs 580 people, underwent a previous Management Buyout in 2005.

Of the three majority owners of Space Engineering, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, Mr Taylor and Barry Stevenson will effectively retire from the business – although Mr Taylor has promised he will be remain available and will continue to attend industry events - while John Hollingdale will remain with the business as part-time chairman.

Mr Taylor stressed that, unlike some previous US businesses in UK refrigeration, Hillphoenix had no intention to take an intrusive approach to Space, its first contracting business, but had taken time to really understand the mechanics of UK service and maintenance. “Hillphoenix is happy to take a hands-off approach, which is why they have taken a minority investment.” In accordance with their minority stake, three Hillphoenix directors will sit on the Space Engineering Board ,

He added “It is a win-win for everybody. We have entered into a partnership with a refrigeration company with financial strength and the remaining management have more equity, giving them a great incentive to grow the company together.”

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