Durham-based total fire protection company acquired by leading UK service provider

NORTH East fire safety firm Fyr Fyter has been acquired by national workplace services provider PHS Group plc for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which was negotiated with advice from Clive Owen Corporate Finance, will give the Durham-based company access to greater resources and the ability to meet a wider range of customer needs.

PHS, which employs 5,000 staff across a network of 90 regional branches, was attracted to Fyr Fyter because of a number of strong customer relationships on its books and its trusted reputation in the North East.

The group’s strategy going forward will be to reinforce and extend these valued relationships across the customer base.

No jobs from Fyr Fyter’s 11-strong workforce were lost in the process, while the Fyr Fyter brand has lived on beyond the sale.

The takeover will see Fyr Fyter’s two founders – Brian Hogg and Paul Bainbridge – support PHS during a handover period before exiting to pursue other interests.

The joint managing directors founded the firm in 1999 and have since nurtured it into one of the UK’s most recognised and respected fire protection organisations from its headquarters on Renny’s Lane Industrial Estate.

The deal team was led by Phil Williams, associate director at Clive Owen Corporate Finance, who advised the shareholders of Fyr Fyter throughout the process and guided them through the negotiations with PHS.

The takeover is the latest in a string of major deals completed with the assistant of Clive Owen this year, following several other notable transactions including the MBO of GEKA Manufacturing and the acquisition of Interlet by the Castledene Group.

Mr Williams said: “Brian Hogg and Paul Bainbridge have worked tirelessly for over ten years to build Fyr Fyter into a highly successful business. This deal represents the culmination of those years of hard work and they thoroughly deserve the excellent result that we have managed to achieve.”

Fyr Fyter provides fire safety services, equipment and specialist training programmes.

The business will now be included under the banner of PHS Compliance, a division of PHS Group that offers a range of testing and calibration services across the UK for medical equipment, electrical, fire, gas and lighting equipment.

Mr Hogg said: “The success that we have achieved with Fyr Fyter would not have been possible without the support of our valued customers and staff. Because of this, we have been keen at every step of the sale process to understand PHS’s approach to doing business.

“I am pleased to say that the answer at every step has been positive and we are confident that our customers and staff will experience a better standard of service than ever before as a result of this deal.”

Mr Bainbridge said: “Selling the business that we care so much about has been a daunting and challenging process.

“Thankfully, an excellent advisory team and an open and sympathetic acquirer have ensured a successful outcome for all. We are now looking forward to working with PHS Compliance to ensure a smooth and seamless handover of the business.”

Martyn Tennant, Partner at Swinburne Maddison Solicitors, provided legal advice to the shareholders and assisted in bringing the deal to a successful outcome.

“It was a pleasure to work with Paul and Brian throughout the transaction. They were both extremely organised and assisted in ensuring that the process was both efficient and concluded within the desired time frame,” Mr Tennant said.

“I am sure that such skills have been of great importance in building such a successful business, which PHS can now take forward to benefit the Fyr Fyter customers.”

PHS Group plc was established in 1963 and today is one of the largest companies specialising in workplace services to businesses throughout the UK, with around 250,000 customers at over 300,000 locations.

Annie Finlayson, director of corporate development at the company, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with the advisory team and the sellers and consider Fyr Fyter an excellent fit for PHS Compliance which will deliver additional resources, skills and experience to the growing fire division”.

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