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Ron Darch & Sons Co Ltd acquired by NWF Group PLC

Ron Darch & Sons Co Ltd, a distinguished South West based family business, recently announced that they had been acquired by NWF Group PLC – an exceptional milestone for the company. Acting on behalf of the shareholders of the company, Randall & Payne supported Andrew,Jamie, Nigel, Jeremy and Simon Darch throughout the transaction which, despite its complexities, fulfilled the desired outcomes of the shareholders and allowed them exit the business safe in the knowledge that the business would be in the best of hands.

Founded by Ron Darch during the early 1960s, the company initially supplied solid fuels to the local community. The exceptional customer service and established customer relationships developed during this period formed the foundations of the regionally acknowledged brand that it is today.

As demand from customers grew, the business expanded accordingly which led to the introduction of liquid fuels and lubricants to their offering. Over the years, having adopted the passion and work ethic that was so heavily entrenched throughout their childhood, the children and grandchildren of Ron Darch each played a fundamental part in the growth of the Darch brand which has become one of the most successful oil distributors in the South West to date.

Randall & Payne, having advised on the sale of Hobbs Bros Ltd in 2017, were approached by the Darch family to discuss the sale of the business due to their intention to retire. It was important to the family that the business was not commoditised and that the legacy of the business would continue under new ownership. Additionally, the family were concerned that the oil and coal elements of the business might be separated or that the coal element of the business may be too niche for distributors who trade only in liquid fuels.

Given that there were multiple shareholders of the company, Andrew and Jamie were appointed to work directly with Randall & Payne on behalf of them all. For several months, we met with Andrew and Jamie and worked with them both to gain a full understanding of how the business operates, including the employee and customer base as well as undertaking site visits. From this invested time, we were well positioned to produce a comprehensive Information Memorandum upon which multiple interested parties were able to make informed offers. Having received several offers for the company, the family were able to identify NWF as the buyer who fulfilled their desired outcomes and with whom they wished to move forward.

“The relationship we built with Randall & Payne was fantastic. They offered a very personal and professional service, with great communication and we had every confidence in their team. This resulted in a successful sale of the business.”

Jamie Darch, Director, Ron Darch & Sons Co Ltd

NWF’s focus on building a sustainable business through strong customer service and fair pricing truly mirrored the culture and ethos of Ron Darch & Sons. Additionally, despite not having a coal division, NWF embraced the coal element of the business and felt that it represented an opportunity to complement their existing product base and ensuring that they could continue to offer both liquid and solid fuels to the company’s dedicated customer base.

At Randall & Payne, we recognise that, particularly in the oil industry, it is difficult to dedicate enough time to your business sale, whilst also maintaining a hands-on operational role within your business. Our role (and what we do best) is to manage the transaction on your behalf and in your best interest from beginning to end. From the initial sale preparation and identification of potential purchasers, to reviewing completion agreements, our objective is to keep the deal running smoothly, working collaboratively with all parties to enable you to continue to do your job without extra worry or burden.

Additionally, our knowledge and experience of the oil industry enables us to understand the sticky points and stumbling blocks inherent in these transactions. This enables us to address complex issues such as working capital requirements of a seasonal trade, the due diligence process and warranty exposure in an efficient, fair and effective manner.

The shareholders of Ron Darch and Sons have exited the business safe in the knowledge that the Darch brand and legacy of the company – testament to the hard work of the Darch family – will long continue. At Randall & Payne, it is our objective to ensure that our clients’ success is at the heart of our business and we are pleased that we have been able to assist the Darch family in achieving this result.

How can Ollie help you?

We pride ourselves on only servicing a manageable number of projects at any one time in order to provide the best possible service to our clients and to allow us to ‘get the job done’. If you are looking for corporate finance advice, or thinking about exiting your business within the next five years, please call Ollie Newbold, our Head of Corporate Finance on 01242 776000 or email corporatefinance@randall-payne.co.uk

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