Minicab firm Addison Lee seals rescue deal with banks
Addison Lee’s banks have struck a deal to take control of Europe’s biggest minicab firm.
Lenders have agreed to inject £45m of new cash into the debt-laden business, according to sources.
The rescue wipes out US private equity fund Carlyle, which bought Addison Lee for £300m in 2013.
It is understood terms were thrashed out in meetings that took place overnight. It comes just days after The Sunday Telegraph revealed Addison Lee was on the brink of a lender-led rescue.
A group of eight banks – which are understood to include the likes of Barclays, HSBC and RBS – have also agreed to refinance £100m of loans, giving Addison Lee seven years before they need to be repaid.
While boasting a dominant position serving business customers – Addison Lee counts 80pc of the FTSE 100 as clients – the company has come under siege from gig economy rivals such as Uber.
Carlyle, which has invested a further £120m into the business, put it on the market almost a year ago. Despite a number of parties initially expressing interest, bids received were between £40m and £130m – considerably lower than the £250m owed to the company’s banks.
Addison Lee was founded in the mid-Seventies by former minicab driver John Griffin. Quickly earning a reputation as a straight talker, he led the dramatic growth of the company before selling up to Carlyle seven years ago.
In 2014 the company made £30m of operating profit on £235m of revenue. Addison Lee’s latest filed accounts for 2018 showed that sales had swollen to £390m but the business plunged into the red with operating losses of £5m.