Cardiff-based boutique advisory firm, Lexington Corporate Finance, has advised on the acquisition of one of the UK’s largest independent metals recycling operators.

Peterborough Metals Recycling (PMR), which has traded successfully as BW Riddle for more than 67 years, has been acquired by Derbyshire-based KJB Global Consulting as part of a transaction backed by industry veteran Tom Bird and Harwood Private Capital. The combination of a leading metals broker with an established metals recycling operator creates a vertically integrated, ESG-focused, metal recycling business of scale, resulting in an ideal platform for future acquisitions.

The two businesses, which will continue to trade as separate entities, will have a total of 70 employees, a combined turnover of £79m and an EBITDA of c£11.9m. The deal involves the retention of all existing PMR staff, with plans to create additional jobs as part of its growth plans.

The deal was facilitated by Tom Bird, who takes a commercial interest and active role with the new organisation. Tom Bird is the current President of the Bureau of International Recycling and the former Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Trading Officer of Scholz Recycling and Chiho Environmental Group, one of the largest recycling businesses in the world and  is listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Tom Bird, whose previous roles also include Managing Director of Sims UK and Van Dalen UK, saw the potential for the two organisations to join forces and brought in boutique advisory firm, Lexington Corporate Finance. Lexington subsequently introduced both parties to private equity firm Harwood Private Capital, which will now take a stake in the business.

KJB Global Consulting is owned by James Bowers and supports clients across Europe, including foundries, industrial plants, mining and metals companies. The firm advises owners and management teams on growth and risk management strategies and also shipped over half a million tonnes of scrap metal on its own chartered vessels in 2022. Following the integration of PMR into its business, it now has the ability to process more than 100,000 tons of inbound material a year.

The complex nature of the deal required a breadth of advisory support, involving a number of UK firms. James Bowers and Tom Bird were advised on the deal by Lexington Corporate Finance and Capital Law. PMR was advised by Grant Thornton and Mills & Reeve, while Harwood Private Capital was advised by PKF Francis Clark and Gateley Legal.

“The acquisition of PMR is the next key step towards an ambitious growth plan for KJB,” said James Bowers, CEO of KJB Global Consulting. “Having someone with the experience of Tom Bird, an industry veteran with over 30 years in the metal recycling sector, investing and taking an active role in the business is fantastic. Bringing private equity investment into the equation, allows for an unrivalled and aggressive buy and build strategy. PMR will be the first of many acquisitions and we are already working on number two.

“PMR has a long heritage and is widely known across the UK metal recycling market with an excellent reputation. As a business it also an established processor of secondary metals with a state of the art infrastructure allowing KJB to move from solely being a ‘trader’ to operating physical processing sites. We are excited about the merger of these two strong businesses, incorporating the outstanding and experienced PMR staff with the existing KJB team. It is going to be an exciting period in the company’s history.”

“The synergy between the two organisations and the potential for future growth has been a driving factor in this deal from the outset,” said Sinead Johnson, who led the advisory team, which included Courtney Mattocks and Pablo Shorney from Lexington Corporate Finance. “The mix of debt and private equity finance, the involvement of different entities and the plans for full integration of the businesses has been complex in nature. The pragmatic and collaborative approach adopted by all parties has created a major player in an industry that is undergoing major change and is pivotal to the growth and decarbonisation aspirations of governments and companies across the globe.”

Stuart Davies, Director at Grant Thornton in the East of England, added: “We are delighted to have supported the Riddle family through this transaction, enabling the business to move forward under its new ownership. We wish everyone involved all the best for the future.”

Jonathan Wheeler, who led the deal for Harwood Private Capital, said; “The combination of a leading metals broker with an established metals recycling operator creates a vertically integrated platform from which to create an ESG-focused, metal recycling business of scale.

“I look forward to working with Tom and James to integrate and drive the business forward, both organically and through acquisition and would like to thank the team from Lexington Corporate Finance, our lawyers, Gateley PLC and PKF Francis Clark who provided the financial due diligence.”