Fleet leasing and funding firm Zenith has been sold by HG Capital to private equity firm Bridgepoint for £750 million.
Headquartered in Leeds, with full-service operations in both Solihull and Wokingham, Zenith has more than 500 employees and provides end-to-end automotive solutions focused on contract hire, salary sacrifice, fleet management and short-term hire services to customers across the UK.
Tim Buchan, CEO at Zenith, said: “We thank HG Capital for their contribution and are pleased to welcome Bridgepoint as our new partner. We look forward to working together on our long-term strategy of continued investment in product and system developments.”
Zenith operates a fleet of about 85,000 vehicles and focuses on serving blue-chip customers, principally as sole supplier and was recently ranked 7th in the FN50’s list of the UK’s top 50 contract hire companies, with a risk fleet of 58,392 vehicles.
HG Capital initially invested in Leasedrive in December 2013 and subsequently its merger with Zenith in February 2014, with the business operating as a single entity since March 2014.
A substantial part of the value created during HG Capital’s investment period has been driven by the close collaboration of Zenith’s management and the HG Capital team.
Zenith has continued to deliver strong double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth over the past year (19% p.a. CAGR since March 2014) and the contracted nature of its business model means that a significant proportion of future growth is already underpinned by existing customer contracts.
Andrew Land, partner at HG Capital, said: “We have had a very successful partnership with the Zenith management team and are proud to have been part of the company’s success.
“The business model has been a great fit with HG’s investment strategy, providing mission-critical services to customers through long-term relationships and the use of proprietary technology.”
Emma Watford, partner at Bridgepoint and head of its business services sector team, told Fleet News that Zenith is “best-in-class”, with a proven business model that has had an unbroken track record of growth over a long period.
She continued: “It benefits from an exceptional management team and, with them, we believe that the business can continue its impressive growth trajectory through its continued focus on customer service, technology and targeted acquisition activity.”
HG Capital was supported by Evercore, Deloitte, OC&C, KPMG, Weil Gotshal & Manges and Sidley Austin on the sale.