Nixon Hire remains majority owned by chief executive Graham Nixon and his 89-year-old father John Nixon, who founded the business in 1967.
Pricoa was brought in to facilitate the exit of three other Nixon family-member shareholders. Graham Nixon said it was incorrect to describe the transaction as a private equity injection.
"The directors and senior management team will also be invested in the company alongside Pricoa," the press release said, but Graham Nixon later clarified that this did not mean that they would be getting any shares.
With headquarters in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Nixon Hire provides plant, site accommodation, welfare and toilets to construction, utilities, infrastructure, housebuilders and corporate events. It had a difficult year in 2020 but, thanks to some restructuring, returned to profit. It made a pre-tax profit of £752,000 (2019: £675,000 loss) on turnover down 12% at £67.7m (2019: £76.6m).
It was a year of retrenchment with depots closed in Bristol, Birmingham, Southampton, Berwick, Sunderland and Bury St Edmunds. Just £4.3m was invested in new plant and infrastructure, compared to £36.8m in 2019. The small tools division was sold for £400,000 in September 2020. It now offers small tools on a re-hire basis instead.
With this new investment it is looking to start growing again. Capital expenditure investment for 2021 is already at £33m.
Graham Nixon said: “We have significant ambitions for the business and this partnership will enable us to accelerate our strategic plans to retain and attract new talent as well as grow our product and depot network. We will look to serve our customers better than ever before, as we invest further in our business. It’s a great balance, we have the benefit of remaining a family business as well as access to the expertise of Pricoa.”
Pricoa senior vice president Ed Barker said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Graham and his team, and we match their ambitions to grow Nixon whilst remaining true to the heritage of the business. Pricoa’s strategy is based on close relationships with strong management teams and solid companies, and we hope to be able to help Nixon on the next step of its strategic journey. This investment is positive for all Nixon stakeholders and we look forward to continuing the business’ long-established positive presence in the UK equipment hire markets.”
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.