Zodiac receives support from RMT and Ward Hadaway

January 16, 2013

THE founder of a successful North East workplace training provider received support from RMT Accountants and Ward Hadaway law firm in finding the right buyer for her business.

Lilian Mains built up Zodiac Training from scratch over 16 years to employ more than 140 staff. But she decided a couple of years ago that she wanted to retire and had to think of the future of the business.

She decided to sell her business and its offices in Gateshead, Sunderland, South Shields and Ashington to Ingeus, one of the UK’s leading providers of employability services.

Lilian had had a number of approaches for the firm over the years, but wanted to find the right buyer for the business who would both be able to equip it for future growth and who would secure the future of its staff.

She worked with RMT, who have acted as advisers to the firm since it was established, to identify the right sale option that would meet both her personal objectives and provide the right commercial platform for the business’s future development.

Ingeus provided a strong strategic fit with the services that Zodiac provides, and their national presence provides an opportunity to grow Zodiac’s presence outside its North East heartland.

She said: “Having decided it was time to step away from the business, finding the right kind of buyer for it became a real priority for me, both in terms of how they could realise the growth potential I know Zodiac has and the role that the staff, who have always been central to our success, would play in delivering this.

“Exploiting the synergy between the two businesses made a great deal of sense, and the commercial momentum that this deal creates will help the Zodiac team take its high-quality service offering to the next level.”

The RMT team that worked on the deal was led by directors Maxine Pott and Anthony Josephs, who has acted as an adviser to Lilian for the last 16 years.

He says: “Having watched Lilian build the Zodiac business up into a hugely-successful operation, it’s very pleasing to see her hard work now getting its due reward, and to also see the company entering into an exciting new era.”

The Newcastle office of Top 100 UK law firm Ward Hadaway provided legal advice to Zodiac on the deal.

Corporate finance partner Robert Thompson led the firm’s team advising on the transaction, assisted by corporate finance associate Charlie Fielding.

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