Stephen Turner has completed the management buy-out of the Currie European Transport Group (recently rebranded Currie Solutions). Having been with the business most of his working life, Stephen has achieved the long term ambition of owning the company, originally founded by Norman Currie
“I am delighted, as someone who’s lived in Dumfriesshire man and boy, it’s been a huge part of my life working with Curries, and to finally be in the position to acquire the company is a real privilege. My vision is simply to ensure that we become the business of choice for our customers and staff to work with and in doing so we enable the growth of business in Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe.
“The MBO was prompted by the business working through its plan for the years ahead. Tom Barrie (owner) and I, felt it was the right time for him and the right time myself to make this change, more importantly, we both believed it was important for the business. As Managing Director, I have been fortunate enough to lead the business since 2010 and I am now ready to take this great business on its next exciting journey.”
Whilst the transport sector has been a difficult space for many to operate in over the last number of years, Stephen believes the sector is ready for change and evolution, with consolidation and collaboration for haulage businesses to get back into a profitable and more sustained business environment.
“Like many, our results have not been easy on the eye in recent years. Most transport businesses have had challenges through increasing fixed costs and variable costs, without the margin increase in revenue to offset. Importantly though, we are not sitting around to wait on the next set of results, we have a strategy that is centred around the consolidation and collaboration that needs to take place in the market – and we will drive forward with that strategy”
And what of the future?
“I won’t make any bold statements, instead, like we have always done, Curries will continue to make decisions that are best for the Group. With the support of our financing partners, we are now in a position to make more progressive decisions that support our vision. We see an opportunity to expand our footprint in Scotland pretty quickly and beyond that there are wider, longer term plans for us to work towards”.
Stephen also acknowledges the support he has had during the process from Robert Stewart of Generis Advisory and Murray Jack of Addleshaw Goddard.
“Robert has been invaluable to me throughout the MBO process and his understanding of situations like this has been key in delivering our deal. Murray and his team at Addleshaw Goddard did a fantastic job, seamlessly taking care of all legal matters for us which included advising on the complexities of re-banking and buying our foreign subsidiaries”
Separately, Currie Solutions has acquired Dundee haulage firm PS Ridgway
PS Ridgway employs 70 staff from its four-acre site on Smeaton Road and its Greenock depot.
All staff will be retained under the new owners, who will retain the PS Ridgway livery.
Founded in 1970, PS Ridgway has a fleet of around 40 vehicles.
Company co-founder and chairman Donald Ridgway described Curries Solutions as a good fit for his business.
“We were approached at the right time. The transport industry is becoming tougher and Currie’s operation fits in very well.
“Curries have traffic flows into our area and we have it going outward — the move will maximise efficiencies.
“All the staff are being retained and Curries have plans for expansion as well.”
Mr Ridgway said his family’s connection to the transport industry in Dundee has lasted more than 80 years.
“My father, Philip, came to Dundee in 1936 and was director of a firm called J&E Transport which was involved in transporting textiles to Lancashire and Yorkshire.
“The firm continued to trade until 1970 when they were bought by the Tayforth Group which in turn was bought by Scottish Road Services. At that time my father retired.
“My late brother Philip, his wife Sheila and I went into business as PS Ridgway.
“Initially we were 100% textiles in the 1970s but now we cover all sectors.”
Mr Ridgway’s son Mark is involved in the day to day running of the business and will continue in the role under the new owners.
Mark Ridgway paid tribute to the support of the firm’s loyal staff and customers over the years.
“I am delighted the heritage in our business will continue under the control of Currie Solutions who share our values and have ambitions to expand in the Dundee area.
“I hope our customer and suppliers will all prosper through the enlarged business.”
Stephen Turner, managing director of Currie Solutions, confirmed his hopes for future expansion.
“This is a great business with a very strong heritage which we I want to honour and protect. For this reason, the business will continue to trade in Dundee as PS Ridgway Ltd and all staff will be retained.”