Vail Williams advises Canal & River Trust on sale of BWML

December 18, 2018

We’re pleased to announce we have advised the Canal & River Trust on the sale of its wholly-owned marina subsidiary, BWML, to private equity investor, LDC, who is supporting its existing management team.

Established in 2004, as part of the Canal & River Trust (British Waterways prior to 2012), British Waterways Marinas Limited (BWML) operates and maintains 18 marinas across the UK with more than 2,500 boat moorings across its sites. 

Its locations offer a wide range of services including residential and leisure moorings, chandlery, maintenance and repair works.

The investment, for an undisclosed sum, will support the development of the existing marina estate to continue to improve the customer experience, broadening leisure services and adding new locations.

Stuart Mills, chief investment officer at the Canal & River Trust, says: “We are delighted to have completed the sale of BWML and will be investing the proceeds into other income-generating assets to support our core work of caring for the nation’s canals and rivers.

“BWML is performing well and we believe its prospects for future growth are good. Coupled with the expertise of LDC we believe the business will benefit and, by extension, its boating customers will too.”

Experts from our expert marine and leisure team provided strategic advice to long-standing client, the Canal & River Trust, undertaking a review of BMWL and advising on subsequent options for its disposal.

Ian Froome, partner and head of marine and leisure, based at our Solent office, said: “We are pleased to have assisted our client in securing an experienced and responsible investor for BMWL which will enable the Canal & River Trust to reinvest to safeguard the ongoing upkeep and running of the country’s canal and river network.”

LDC is the UK’s leading mid-market private equity investor. It is committed to backing ambitious management teams from companies across the UK and has a portfolio of 90 businesses across a broad range of sectors. 

Chris Wright, Director at LDC in the South, said: “We are excited to be able to provide the investment to support the BWML team in growing this established brand in order to enrich the experience of its marina users. With our support, management will focus on delivering improvements across the marina sites and add new locations to further strengthen its brand and market position.”

LDC was advised by DC Advisory and Gateley plc. Canal & River Trust was also advised by Bevan Brittan LLP and BDO LLP.