A management buyout deal has just been sealed at a Sheffield company that manufactures specialist lifting equipment for the railways and heavy industry. Mechan has been designing, fabricating and installing cranes and other heavy-lifting gear for UK industrial customers since 1969, and is a major supplier to the railway industry worldwide.

The MBO team was headed by Mechan’s business development director, Richard Carr, who becomes managing director following the deal’s completion. He is an equal shareholder with three colleagues: financial director Zahir Altaf, sales director Graham Cofield and technical director Christian Fletcher.

"We had been in discussion since January with founder and major shareholder Tony Hague, who decided to sell some while ago," Richard Carr explains, "so we were pleased to tie up an agreement that will enable Mechan to maintain the growth achieved over the past four decades. Tony retains a minority holding and the role of chairman.


"The buyout team is very confident about future prospects, particularly as export markets now provide extensive sales opportunities," Carr continued. "We are also benefiting from increased investment in new rolling stock and maintenance depots in the UK, for which Mechan lifting jacks and other equipment are often specified.

"Successful conclusion of the buyout provides continuity and security for the business and its key people, whilst ensuring knowledge transfer and skills retention. We shall maintain our focus on customer service, product development and lean manufacturing to ensure cost competitiveness in both UK and global markets."

Funding for the MBO was provided by South Yorkshire Investment Fund, alongside personal investment from members of the buyout team and ongoing banking arrangements with NatWest. The value of the buyout has not been disclosed.

Mechan will operate from its current premises until 2009, when relocation to a new facility is envisaged.