Case study: Mick George
If you live in East Anglia or the East Midlands, there’s a good chance you already know the name Mick George. Back in 1978, Mick himself set up business with a single tipper truck. But in the past four decades, the business has grown to become one of the leading suppliers to the construction industry in the region. The Mick George fleet is now more that 450 vehicles strong, and includes trucks, diggers, skips, waste transporters, concrete layers and even delivery vehicles for home and garden products such as gravel and fencing.
It’s obvious, then, that the Mick George management team – including Mick himself and his son Michael – is never slow to spot an opportunity. The business has expanded by spotting gaps in the market that can be addressed using the team’s experience and expertise, mostly in heavy vehicles. They have then also acquired similar businesses in target markets.
But in a business as capital intensive as this, skill, ambition and experience need financial backing. Annual revenue has been growing in double digits for the last 15 years – up to around £200m – and with more than 1,000 employees on the books, cash flow management is a little more complex than it was back in 1978. So during a period of strong growth, the team needed to look again at its funding model.
How could they bring in new vehicles in a way that optimised their finances, but also offered flexibility and scope to grow when new opportunities emerged?
What was needed immediately was funding for new dumpers, construction and demolition vehicles, waste shredding and sorting equipment, excavators and other vehicles. The Mick George Group already had a roster of lenders, including a couple of banks and equipment manufacturers. A big priority was a solution that helped with cash flow management – alongside very competitive rates compared to other providers.
But the Mick George Group is not a company that looks for speculative funding – and the team doesn’t just look for the cheapest rates. Reliability, ease of administration and expertise is important, too. So it was a feather in ABN AMRO’s cap when we passed their test and stepped in with a £5m hire purchase (HP) facility to help fund the new vehicles.
At ABN AMRO Lease we see ourselves as being, not just a partner but, a financial wingman to our clients. As well as competitive rates, we structured the deal to ensure minimal deposits and allow for a VAT deferral – creating space for the Mick George team to manage their cash flow even better. “The whole process was very simple, slick, quick – and it works,” explains CEO, Jon Stump . “We worked well together. That’s important to a business like this. We try to build partnerships for the long term, and we will only do this where there is value-add on both sides. We’re very selective about the partners we work with.”
Although the Mick George Group has been robust through the pandemic period – construction, waste and home improvement have been strong performers even in lockdown – at the start of the Covid-19 situation we also wanted to give the team even more flexibility. With most of our existing lease clients, we provided payment holidays to ensure they had extra room to manoeuvre when the situation was most uncertain. With the Mick George Group, we took a different approach, structuring the deal to create payment-free initial six months and delivering that VAT deferral to aid cash flow.
That worked well for both sides. “Access to the funding solution has been key in us being able to invest in equipment,” says Jon. “It has certainly enabled our business to develop and grow faster. We love to act quickly to take opportunities – and the swift process, being able to turn around a quote quickly, fit our style perfectly.”
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