Panoramic, Maven and Emerald back MBO of Bullet Express

18/10/2023

PANORAMIC Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), and Maven Capital Partners (“Maven”), through its professional client investment platform, Maven Investor Partners, have backed the management buyout of Glasgow-based distribution and logistics specialist Bullet Express (“Bullet”).

The transaction includes a multi-million pound investment from Panoramic and Maven, alongside the existing Bullet shareholders, David McCutcheon, Gary Smith and John McKail. The transaction was introduced by Emerald Capital Partners, who also invested in the deal via Maven Investor Partners. 

Founded in 1990, Bullet provides global freight management, distribution and storage capability to a diverse customer base across multiple sectors including FMCG, Retail, Healthcare, Industrial and Aerospace. 

The company is led by John McKail, who has been Managing Director since 2020 and has spent his entire career in the logistics sector and boasts an experienced senior management team. Over the past three years, the business has grown to 155 employees, expanded from three to six sites, and has increased revenues by 38%.

In recent years the business has invested heavily in enhancing its storage and sorting capabilities, as well as driving efficiencies. This has allowed Bullet to take on larger scale contracts and offer more services. Operating from several strategic locations, the business provides 560,000ft2 of facilities which offer easy access to key motorways, seaports and airports enabling time sensitive transport for its clients across the UK.

The funding will support management’s impressive organic growth to date as well as enabling the business to pursue a buy and build strategy. The UK logistics market is estimated to be worth £204 billion and is very fragmented providing opportunity for consolidation and access to other key geographical networks. 

Malcolm Kpedekpo, Partner at Panoramic, said; “We are delighted to support John and the management team in the next stage of growth of Bullet. Building on the strong platform developed by the founders, the business is poised to continue its growth both organically and through acquisitions. It represents exactly the type of business we are looking to back via Fund 3 – regional, profitable, ambitious businesses looking to move to the next stage in their evolution.”

Ewan MacKinnon, Partner, at Maven, said; “The buyout of Bullet represents an attractive opportunity for Maven Investor Partners to invest in an established, growing, and cash generative business with the potential of a buy and build strategy. Maven is delighted to be supporting the MBO of such a well-regarded business that services major clients across multiple sectors, and we believe it is well placed to build on the strong foundations that David, Gary, John and their team have established.”

John McKail, newly appointed CEO at Bullet Express, added: “This is a significant milestone for our business. During my 3.5 years tenure as Managing Director, Bullet has achieved so much, our founders David McCutcheon and Gary Smith can be extremely proud of the very fine organisation they have built, employing some of the best people within our sector. With support from my full team, I am excited to lead the next phase of our journey as we embark on a ‘buy and build’ strategy with our investment partners Panoramic, Maven and Emerald.” 

David McCutcheon and Gary Smith, Founders of Bullet Express, issued a joint statement: “This has been our life’s work, to witness the growth and evolution of Bullet has been the most fulfilling experience. From one vehicle back in 1990, to leading market brand we are today, employing over 155 people is quite remarkable. We remain invested and now hand over the baton to John and his team, supremely confident that Bullet is in safe hands for the next chapter of its growth journey.” 

Principals and key advisors to the transaction:

Panoramic: Malcolm Kpedekpo & Katie Leitch

Maven: Ewan Mackinnon & Martin McLaren

Emerald: Michael Schmitz

Financial and Tax: Consilium

Legal: Addleshaw Goddard Insurance: TL Dallas Cyber/IT: BCN Management: Millarise HR

Commercial: Granta Strategy & Beverley Bell Consulting

Property – Hardies/J & E Shephard

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