Australia

In 2020, Byron and Cheryl Hughes decided to sell SA-based Mobile Compressed Air – 

a business they had established 35 years prior in 1985.

The couple felt that it was time to pass on the opportunity to advance the business

which had reached its full potential under their stewardship.

Byron and Cheryl had retirement plans on their mind, and a tenth grandchild on the way. 

About the company

Based in Adelaide, Mobile Compressed Air is a Kaeser air compressor sales and service specialist. In addition, Mobile Compressed Air services all makes and models, and provides installations and project planning solutions.

The Challenge

For potential buyers, Mobile Compressed Air presented a good business opportunity for a range of reasons: Byron, Cheryl and the team had doubled the company’s turnover in the preceding five to six years as part of the plan to maximise its value prior to sale and the business was held in high-regard and a standout in the market for delivering quality products and services, with multiple parties including large multinationals having already expressed some potential interest in the business.

While this initially led Byron and Cheryl to believe the sale would be reasonably straightforward, there were still a number of hurdles that needed to be met to get the transaction over the line, in particular:

  • Negotiating with the interested parties to achieve a sale price within the range Byron and Cheryl had hoped
  • Dealing with a major supplier to assign the distribution arrangements, and
  • Navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Solution

Byron and Cheryl were referred to William Buck by their trusted accountant who had worked as their tax and business advisor for many years but felt he didn’t have the pre-requisite business transaction experience to manage the sale.

The couple met with Adrian Chugg, Director, and Chris Rosser, Manager, of the William Buck Corporate Advisory team.

“We have a lot of faith in our accountant and once he’d recommended William Buck and we had our first meeting with Adrian and Chris, there was no hesitation or question about whether William Buck was the right advisor for us.” – Byron Hughes

In soliciting offers from competing parties, William Buck prepared an Information Memorandum document which provided an overview of the business and presented the business’s financial performance in the best possible light. Adrian also handled inspections of the business with prospective buyers to ensure continuity in negotiations.

This led to receiving competing offers for the business and working with the eventual purchaser to structure a deal in a manner that would achieve the desired price.

However, shortly after sale contracts were signed in early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and the deal was in placed into jeopardy. After a short pause, William Buck worked through the various challenges with the purchaser to complete the transaction without any changes to price.

Throughout, William Buck explained the process and built trust with Byron and Cheryl by being honest and transparent about the potential issues. Similarly, William Buck also built a relationship with the buyer, to ensure that all objectives were met.

“William Buck’s communication with both parties was excellent. Adrian hit every point that might’ve been a contentious issue, certainly with the purchaser. He made them aware of every issue up front. The attention to detail right through was incredible.” – Byron Hughes.

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The Outcome

In late 2020, Mobile Compressed Air was acquired by The Crommelin Group. Byron and Cheryl received an amount for their business that was within their asking price range and The Crommelin Group were happy with the figure reached through deliberations with Adrian and Chris.

“The transaction unfolded just as William Buck said it would. They explained the process to us very clearly right from the onset, very professionally. Once they’d laid out a plan, they stuck to it and were persistent with it and we really appreciated that given the excellent outcome.” – Byron Hughes.

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