A Midland firm specialising in powered lifting equipment has announced it is to buy three European rivals in an 87.8 million euro (£61.8 million) bid to increase its share of the continental market.
Lavendon Group, which rents powered access machines - or "cherry pickers" - said yesterday it had completed the purchase of Spanish powered access firm DK Rental Spain for 24.2 million euros (£17 million).
It also agreed to buy DK Rental businesses in Belgium and France for a combined total of 63.6 million euros (£44.8 million).
Lavendon said it expects the acquisitions to enhance earnings before exceptional costs for the year ending December 2008.
The company said it will pay two thirds of the money in cash, and the remainder by handing over loan notes and issuing about 1,902,372 new shares in the company.
Dealings in the new shares are expected to start on the London Stock Exchange on December 17.
Lavendon raised the cash needed for the acquisitions by extending bank facilities to £150 million, with a revolving credit facility of £125 million and the rest made up of bank loans.
Lavendon chief executive Kevin Appleton said the operational leverage gained from combining the businesses would see the company deliver improved returns from France, Belgium and Spain. "The acquisition will also give us market leadership in the attractive Belgian market," he added.
The experienced DK Rental management teams will be staying with their current workplaces and joining the Lavendon Group.
The combined DK Rental businesses have a fleet of approximately 2,700 machines with an average age of two years, and seven main depots across the three countries.
The three businesses reported a combined revenue of £22 million for 2006 - the last full year to be recorded. After making the acquisition announcement, Lavendon also gave a trading update, saying that it predicted full-year earnings to beat expectations.
It said the current trading remained strong and that the group had continued to grow its revenues year-on-year, with all main markets contributing to this progress.
Lavendon group is based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire. Its powered access equipment is designed to enable people to work safely, productively and comfortably at heights and can be used both inside and outside of buildings and structures.