Delta Environmental

Gary Hodgson established Delta Environmental following several years of experience working within the air-conditioning and refrigeration industry.

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Delta Environmental

Gary Hodgson

The firm designed, installed, serviced and maintained air conditioning systems for commercial and retail customers and property developers. After trading for twenty years Gary decided to sell Delta Environmental to a national facilities management firm, and turned to Dufton Kellner for help with the process.

The business had been growing at a gradual pace, with Gary solely running the business at first, and subsequently bringing in a service and maintenance manager and a new installations manager to allow him to concentrate on the sales that would further expand the business. In Delta's final five years of trading the firm gained momentum, and began to overtake its similar sized competitors.

Gary began to notice a trend in the sector, as smaller firms were swallowed up by the larger national corporations. Delta Environmental were caught in a complex middle-ground, being bigger than their regional counterparts, but smaller than the national air-conditioning companies. Gary realised that if he continued to trade in the current capacity he would have to downsize to effectively compete with the regional firms. Alternatively he could strive to expand the business quickly into a financial player.

Gary identified a third option. As he wasn't prepared to go through the period of financial discomfort that expanding the business would entail, Gary decided that instead he would sell the business to a larger firm capable of taking his company to the next level.

Dufton Kellner were recommended to Gary by his bank, who referred to the firm as being able to provide sound financial advice to local SMEs, with particular experience in providing advice on sales and acquisitions. From his experience, Gary now believes that exit strategies are a specialist niche of Dufton Kellner's.

"They held our hand throughout the whole process," he says. "They were happy to have meetings at extremely short notice as and when we needed them. There were three other minority shareholders involved in the company at the time, and Dufton Kellner trod a very fine line in providing impartial advice. Everyone seemed to get the confidence they needed from the way they handled the situation. It was a fraught process with many highs and lows.

"I was most impressed with the way they worked closely with the corporate solicitor, forming a fantastic vital support network. They also broke things down into packages of information that could be understood by non-financial experts. They put in a lot of time and effort when it was needed and I think if I'd have gone to a bigger firm I wouldn't have received that level of client focus."

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