Case Study: Portsmouth City Council

Transaction:
Company Sales & Acquisitions
Sector:
Retail
Deal completed:
February 2008
mmd
About the deal

Meridian advised Portsmouth City Council (“PCC”) on the acquisition of the UK's biggest banana importer, Mainland Market Deliveries (“MMD”). 

MMD, based at Portsmouth Commercial Port, imports 70 per cent of the UK's bananas; however in recent years it has run unprofitably.  The deal will safeguard jobs for most of MMD's 200 staff and the business plan forecasts a return to profits by 2010.

The council already owns the ferry port, which earns £6m profit a year, and Port Manager Martin Putman will spearhead the takeover.  Every year MMD, the port's only major commercial freight company, adds nearly £2m income into council funds.

Council chief executive David Williams said: “We are the first to accept it's an unusual step for a local authority to take.  There aren't many councils with interests in commercial ports, never mind contemplating purchasing a commercial business.  These are very special and particular circumstances to Portsmouth and we have to safeguard the public interest in negotiating the best way forward”.

Martin Putman commenting on the acquisition said “We were fortunate that we engaged Meridian at an early stage of the acquisition. Many of the processes involved were unknown to us, but Meridian gave us first class expert advice that resulted in a good result for the port and the City Council”.

Michael Barcia of Meridian commented “This transaction is a good example of our ability to structure an offer and get a deal done in complex circumstances.  We were introduced to the transaction by the vendor’s advisors to assist the Management Team at Portsmouth Commercial Port in delivering a credible deal that satisfied the needs of all parties. I believe we have achieved a result that is excellent for the City”.  

Legal advice to PCC was provided by Mark Shepherd from Shoosmiths, with financial due diligence provided by Fiander Tovell.  

The vendors were advised by BDO and Blake Lapthorn.

70%

Of the UK's banana imports

mmd banner

We were fortunate that we engaged Meridian at an early stage of the acquisition. Many of the processes involved were unknown to us, but Meridian gave us first class expert advice that resulted in a good result for the port and the City Council.

Martin Putman , Mainland Market Deliveries