A Birmingham civil engineering contractor has returned to private ownership in its 65th year following a management buyout for an undisclosed sum.
Aston-based Fitzgerald, which was founded in 1948, has been acquired from one of the world’s largest construction businesses, Bouygues Bâtiment International, by managing director Nick Coley.
Fitzgerald was bought by Midland construction company Thomas Vale Group in 1993, but continued to trade and develop as an independent business within the group.
Thomas Vale was taken over by French giant Bouygues Bâtiment in April 2012.
Mr Coley, who was appointed to the Fitzgerald board in 2008, will continue as managing director and the senior management team will remain in place. David Newcombe, formerly group finance director of Thomas Vale, will join the company in the role of non-executive chairman.
Fitzgerald turns over about £24 million and employs more than 100 people.
Mr Coley said: “I am confident that as an independent company we will be able to offer an even greater top-down commitment and focus to our clients.
“Our financial standing remains extremely strong, we have a strong balance sheet with no borrowings and insurance and bonding facilities have already been arranged and are in place.
“It will also present us with many opportunities to deliver business growth and enhance client care and project delivery. It is a great achievement to be celebrating our 65th anniversary and the acquisition will present a new chapter in our history.”
Mr Coley said the opportunity for the MBO arose around the takeover by Bouygues Bâtiment and a “couple of things coming together at the right time”.
“Fitzgerald is in a very strong position with its place in the market,” he said. “There was an opportunity for a strong regional operation that’s locally owned.
“Over the last four years we’ve developed into a very lean, efficient business.
“We’ve adapted to the changing marketplace since the recession, and have a wider and more varied client base.
“We’re extremely well placed and being in private ownership we’re able to react faster and respond to our clients needs.
“The aim is to achieve strong growth going forward and grow in our current marketplace.”
In its 65-year history, Fitzgerald has developed long-lasting relationships with private clients and local authorities across the Midlands, where it has undertaken a range of infrastructure projects including groundworks, civil engineering structures, roads, car parking, pedestrianisation, hard landscaping and associated specialist areas such as speed cameras and road signage.
Local projects include the remodelling of external steps and public areas in The Mailbox, the Think Tank science garden at Millenium Point, extensive road and paving works in West Bromwich for Sandwell Council and the £800,000 re-profiling of the carriageway at the Five Ways island junction with Hagley Road.
In 2011, Fitzgerald completed a £1.5 million contract for soft and hard landscaping around the perimeters of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, to compliment the landscape works at Bancroft Gardens in front of the theatre on the bank of the river Avon, which attracts over a million visitors every year.
The contract included a new riverside boardwalk that takes visitors from the River Avon’s Clopton Bridge, past the recreation ground to Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried.
Fitzgerald secures 20 per cent of its business through traditional one off competitive tendering.