New Deal Ensures Firm Foundations continue
New deal ensures firm foundations continue as chassis firm announces management buyout
Gateway Chassis Solutions has announced the successful completion of a vendor-initiated management buyout and the appointment of majority shareholder Chris Ramsden as Managing Director.
In January, leading UK Chassis Manufacturers Chassis Solutions and Gateway Chassis officially announced their merger as Gateway Chassis Solutions Ltd, positioning them perfectly to increase their capacity to supply cutting-edge chassis solutions to the park home, leisure lodge and caravan holiday home sectors.
With sites in Wellingborough and Hull, on the spot for many of the manufacturing companies they supply, this MBO news further solidifies Gateway Chassis Solutions’ sound footings in the park and leisure home industry, retaining continuity of management, a solid financial footing and the flexibility to react and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.
New MD Chris Ramsden has been with the group for 18 months as Head of Operations so it’s very much business as usual, although this move represents a natural and seamless step forward for Chris in heading up the business formally. He is a well-known figure within the park and holiday home sector and has a wealth of sector-specific experience and understanding, combined with operational management experience in manufacturing, leisure and connected automotive disciplines. That combination of technical expertise combined with industry understanding has already seen benefits for Gateway Chassis Solutions’ customers and has played a key part in growing the business over the past 12-18 months.
He will continue to be supported by Steve Budding and Greg Taylor as shareholders, along with a wider team of employees, stakeholders and suppliers – a well-established, dynamic team used to working together in driving the business forward. Previous owner Steve Budding is Managing Director of the Wheel Solutions Group and co-director Greg Taylor leads research and development arm WheelLab, which serves both businesses. This structure is key to providing chassis solutions designed around the customer’s needs, as
with park and leisure homes getting bigger and heavier there is more reliance than ever on getting the chassis right.
Gateway Chassis Solutions’ recent launch of the I-Beam chassis for park homes demonstrates their continued commitment to value-added, value-engineered technology – rather than just throwing more steel at the chassis and adding cost without benefit, their WheelLab technology delivers the optimum solution for each purpose while also ensuring the chassis is ultimately cost-efficient. With recent investment in plant, equipment and personnel, and WheelLab as their research and development resource helping to support customers individual requirements further going forward, the company is now at the forefront of chassis development.
Talking about the changes Steve said; “My priority was to ensure the right people were in the right places and with Chris’s industry understanding and passion for the product I believe the business is in a great position for the future with the right person leading it.”
The deal was led by Roy Farmer, Corporate Finance Partner for Dains, working with Barclays Corporate Finance, and Ansons and Keelys on the legal side. What makes it so remarkable as a feat of management is the backdrop of such a fast-changing political, financial and socio-economic landscape from the start of the process last year and throughout the merger.
Roy commented; “Gateway Chassis Solutions is on secure footing for the future, and that’s been our priority throughout. The way we structured the deal ensures that the business continues to be based on firm foundations in every sense. For the vendor it crystallised the value of the business, assigning significant equity to those in a position to help drive the business forward in the cases of Chris and Greg. Steve Budding, the original owner stays involved with a meaningful equity stake so for him that was a great middle-ground option between retaining full ownership or selling completely as he’s still as passionate about the business as ever. The timing could have presented a few issues but we pre-empted them and everything went smoothly. After the merger and the general election, we had to keep one eye on changes the treasury could potentially make and plan accordingly as we were working towards the completion of the management buyout. The deal concluded on March 10th, a day before the budget, with a deal structure and funding package created to ensure that the new team would be able to adapt effectively to market forces in the future, both short and long term.”
Within two weeks the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were announced on March 23rd representing a challenging time for any business, but it’s clear that with a solid team in place and on good financial footings, Gateway Chassis Solutions’ future looks bright and exciting, and the way that the business has been restructured puts them in the perfect position to weather the varied and considerable challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has presented.
Chris Ramsden was subsequently appointed to the position of Managing Director on 1st May.
Chris explains; “The passion I have for UK manufacturing and to the leisure industry is huge and has always been there from the start. From leaving education to this point now I have been involved at various levels in various sectors in this industry for the most part. It has led me to this opportunity and I honestly believe with the continued development of the people and the right team then GCSL are primed for bigger things. All concerned worked tirelessly to get the deal pushed through and I know there were some long hours worked by all. In particular Roy Farmer of Dains was a huge help and support and I know that will continue now the deal has finalised.”
He continued; “These last few weeks have been a whirlwind and the lockdown has not changed that. Although this industry is one which works best face to face, this time has allowed us to touch base even further with our customers and perhaps at greater depth, to get the best feel possible for how we can support them and their businesses going forward from all sorts of perspectives. That’s actually been really useful for all. To have had the opportunity to work alongside an individual as driven and as passionate as Steve Budding is one we have both enjoyed and we all look forward to some exciting times ahead. The original ethos of being a relationship led business with a family feel hasn’t changed and that’s reflected in the way we work within the business and with our customers, and we really value those relationships. With Greg leading our research and development we are well placed to continue to be responsive to our customers’ needs while also leading the way as pioneers of chassis engineering and development. I genuinely believe that UK manufacturing is the key to a strong economy, and I am proud to now lead a company which will; through the manufacturing chain, play a part of boosting the British system at a time when a flexible approach may be needed more than ever before.”
Neil Barnes Relationship Director at Barclays commented “Gateway Chassis Solutions Ltd are a long standing client who have a history of innovation within the sector.
We are delighted to support the next phase of their development and implementation of their future growth strategy despite the uncertain times being faced by a number of businesses.”
So, what does all this mean for the park and leisure home industry? A chassis manufacturer with the capability to push the boundaries of innovation in line with the park and leisure home manufacturing trends and to adapt to their ever-changing supply needs – crucial in today’s environment. For future park or holiday homeowners they can also be confident that their purchase is based on firmer foundations than ever. As pioneers in motion Gateway Chassis Solutions are undoubtedly ones to watch, and this new company structure looks set to see them rolling the future of chassis design forward to lead the field more than ever.
To find out more about Gateway Chassis Solutions email email@example.com, call 01482 485170
Pictured above: Chris Ramsden (l) is the newly appointed MD, supported by shareholders Steve Budding (m) and Greg Taylor (r)