This article was originally published on Fleet News.
BT Group has sold BT Fleet Solutions to private equity group Aurelius Equity Opportunities for an undisclosed sum.
Rumours that the telecoms company was looking to offload the business started circulating late last year, with the asking price said to be around £200 million. However, it is understood that £200m sale tag was wide of the mark and the actually price of the business was in the tens of millions. The latest published statutory accounts for 2017/18 for BT Fleet show revenues of £209.5m.
Dr Dirk Markus, Group-CEO and chairman of the executive board of Aurelius, said: “This acquisition is a further example of Aurelius’ specialism in acquiring non-core divisions that have been carved out of large corporates, and are in need of operational support to transform them into standalone, sustainable organisations.
“BT Fleet Solutions is a strong business with a high calibre customer base. We look forward to working with management to ensure a smooth transition in the coming months, positioning the company as an independent entity that is ready to capture the significant growth opportunity available in the UK market.”
He continued: “This is another exciting development for Aurelius this year, following our recent sale of Solidus Solutions, our largest exit to date. This deal is a demonstration of our continued interest in the UK market, which presents a number of compelling opportunities for us as a result of the ongoing economic and political uncertainty that has arisen out of Brexit.”
Established in 2002, BT Fleet Solutions employs around 950 staff around the UK, and manages more than 80,000 vehicles for over 26 blue chip customers across diversified industries.
That includes BT’s own fleet, some 35,000 vehilces that includes the Openreach fleet (29,000 vehicles), which Aurelius says it will continue to service.
The 80,000-strong fleet of mission-critical vehicles and specialist ancillary equipment receives a range of services from service, maintenance and repair (SMR) and fleet management, to telematics and accident management.
Services are provided through a 65-strong, UK-wide garage network, with more than 500 partner garages and more than 50 mobile technicians.
In the coming months, Aurelius said its operational task force will support BT Fleet Solutions in executing a carve out from BT, ensuring a “seamless continuation” of the company’s day to day operations, while working to position the business as an independent entity.
The company is expected to be rebranded within the next 12 months.
Going forward, Aurelius says it will work with BT Fleet Solutions’ existing management team to maintain its market-leading position and drive growth for the business. This will be delivered through a range of initiatives, including operational improvement, investment in key business areas – such as heavy goods vehicles, accident management and vehicle funding.
Aurelius says it will also work with management to identify customer and product expansion opportunities, both organically and through acquisition.
BT Fleet Solutions has been voted Van/Truck Fleet Management Company of the Year twice in a row at the Commercial Fleet Awards, as well as Supplier of the Year at the 2017 Fleet News Awards.
It also strengthened its core offering last year, with the acquisition of SEV Automotive and Plant, a UK-based mobile vehicle maintenance and servicing business.
SEV’s capabilities were added to its network of garages locations to help accelerate its plans to provide fixed and mobile SMR to new and existing customers, to accompany its fleet management service for business critical fleets.
Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT’s Enterprise unit, said: “The acquisition of BT Fleet Solutions by Aurelius is an exciting and significant step forward in its development and will deliver for its customers, people and the BT Group.
“Over the past five years, our fleet business has grown into a multi-award winning market leader in the sector. The unrivalled expertise and experience of its people in managing and maintaining complex fleets has been key to this success.
“With BT’s renewed focus on investing in the best fixed and mobile networks in the UK, and with BT Fleet Solutions well positioned to achieve further growth, the time is right for the business to find a new home.
“Aurelius is ideally placed to support the next phase of BT Fleet Solutions’ development and deliver new services to its customers.
“I’d like to thank our colleagues in BT Fleet Solutions for all they have done for the business and the wider BT Group and wish them every success for the future.”
Aurelius Group is a pan-European investment group with offices in Munich, London, Stockholm, Madrid and Amsterdam. Since it was founded in 2006, it has grown from a local turnaround investor to an international multi-asset manager.
It was advised by Deloitte (M&A), Mayer Brown (Legal) and KPMG (Tax). BT was advised on this transaction by Lazard (M&A) and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Legal).