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Hawco changes ownership

UK: Refrigeration distributor Hawco is under new ownership following a management buy-out backed by private equity company Bay Tree.

The acquisition from international specialised distribution group Diploma PLC also includes Abbeychart, its dispense equipment component parts supply business. Hawco was acquired by Diploma in 2003 for around £8m.

Bay Tree says it intends to invest in Hawco to enable the business to take advantage of the opportunities to reach the next level of growth in both the UK and overseas markets.

Bay Tree partners Michael Simmonds and Ed Cottrell have joined the board and Duncan Wilkes non-executive chairman of commercial lighting component distributor Prime Light – another Bay Tree business – has been appointed chairman. 

Michael Simmonds said that the company was delighted to be supporting Hawco MD Martin Butler and his team to complete the management buyout of Hawco. “We have been impressed by Hawco’s depth of technical support for customers and by its strength in supplier relationships. Its resilience was proved during lockdown and with access to funding we believe it can build on this strong foundation, with both organic and acquisition growth strategies,” he said.

Martin Butler described the deal as a huge opportunity for the business. “It will bring the tools needed to build further on the value-add services we offer, ensure we have the most up to date product offerings for our customers and expand on the success of our international sales, an area that is now core to the business.”

Established in 1973, the acquisition coincides with Hawco celebrating 50 years of trading.

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