Sky News reports that an announcement from Altrad on the purchase is imminent.
Rumours of Altrad buying Interserve’s formwork and shoring business have been swirling around the industry all year and were first reported on this site back in early March. However, both sides have consistently denied that a deal was in the works. Until today.
A spokesperson at Tilbury Douglas, as Interserve is now called, said: “The sale of RMD Kwikform is part of the planned restructuring of the group, which has also seen the sale of businesses including Interserve Healthcare to City & County Healthcare Group and Interserve Support Services to Mitie Group plc in 2020. This now provides the opportunity for Tilbury Douglas to reinforce its position as a major regional contractor, capitalising on our strong order book and revived performance.”
Interserve first put RMD Kwikform up for sale in 2016, when it was more interested in facilities management than construction and needed to raise cash. RMD had long been a cash cow for Interserve but increasingly non-core; at that time it was contributing annual profits of more than £40m on £200m turnover. As Interserve plunged into financial crisis, a 2019 restructuring dumped £350m of the group’s £650m debt onto RMD. That year RMD Kwikform saw its revenue dip to £165m and operating profit shrink to £15.9m.
Altrad has only recently made a major acquisition in the UK scaffolding space, paying an undisclosed sum on 5th August this year for Actavo Hire & Sales.
Actavo began life as scaffolding company Deborah Services. It was acquired by Irish group Siteserv in 2008 and changed its name to Actavo after its takeover by telecoms billionaire Denis O’Brien in 2012. Altrad had also tried to buy Siteserv back then but was outmanoevred by O'Brien.
Other acquisitions by Altrad include Cape (2017), Hertel (2015), Trad, BarOmix, Belle Group, Beaver 84, NSG, Generation and MTD.
The Altrad group was founded in Montpellier, France, by Mohed Altrad, who was born sometime around 1948 in a nomadic tribe in Syria, and orphaned at an early age. He start out by buying a failing scaffolding manufacturer for one franc and today owns a €3bn-turnover international group.
Altrad sponsors both the French rugby union national team and the All Blacks, and also owns Montpellier rugby club. In 2015 Mohed Altrad became the first Frenchman to win the World Entrepreneur of the Year award.