From deep water to heavy engineering Swindon firm closes sale

By Anita Jaynes on 30 June, 2017

Corporate finance specialists Watersheds based in Swindon has announced the sale of Shoebridge Engineering Ltd to London Pumps.

W H Shoebridge Ltd, an engineering business based in Northampton, was established in 1919.  In 2002 the MD, Robert Shoebridge (3rd generation), received a letter saying that one of its customers, Britannia Engineering based in Spalding, Lincolnshire, had gone into administration.  He knew it had been repairing and refurbishing pumps, valves and heat exchangers for the water business for over 50 years.  He decided to take action and contacted corporate finance specialists, Watersheds, to see if there was anything he could do.  Two weeks later he had bought the business.

Robert changed the name to Shoebridge Engineering Ltd, purchased larger premises, relocated it and invested in its capacity to handle heavy engineering work for customers on a national basis.

Robert Shoebridge said: “My job is done.  The business is now profitable, stable, well equipped and solid.  I wanted to go back to concentrating on the family business, W H Shoebridge Ltd, which will be celebrating its centenary in two years’ time, so I asked Watersheds to sell Shoebridge Engineering Ltd.

“I am pleased to have sold to London Pumps which is the perfect partner for Shoebridge Engineering as it is growing and looking for new capacity and services.  They will continue with the Shoebridge name and will expand the workforce.  I know the jobs of my staff are secure.  David Fletcher of Watersheds found us the right buyer, supporting me and problem solving throughout the process.”

David Fletcher, of Watersheds, added: “It is wonderful to have clients that come back to us.  We helped Robert to buy the business 15 years ago and now we have helped him to sell it for a substantial sum.  We did it by finding the perfect match in London Pumps, but there is much more to it.  Some clients want us to sit next to them throughout the deal.  Others want more.  Robert is a brilliant engineer who has created real value in Shoebridge Engineering.  He wanted us to lead the negotiations, manage the due diligence and find solutions for all the inevitable commercial issues that arise, leaving him free to focus on his other engineering business.”

Matt Magee, of London Pumps said: “I am delighted to be working with the Shoebridge Engineering team.  Robert has done a tremendous job saving and developing the business and I am looking forward to growing it.”

Robert Shoebridge was represented by John Keeble of DFA Law, Northampton and Matt Magee by David Dees of Heald Solicitors, Milton Keynes.

Pictured above: David Fletcher, Matt Mcgee, Robert Shoebridge and Richard Knight.