£12.0 million senior secured unitranche loan facility in support of the MBI of market-leading port handling company JST Services (Scotland) Ltd

Shard Credit Partners announces the signing and completion of a £12.0 million senior secured unitranche loan facility in support of a management buy-in of market-leading port handling and logistics company JST Services (Scotland) Ltd (“JST Services”).  

The MBI of JST Services, which completed on 6th December 2020, was led by Richard Jennings and Independent Port Capital Management Ltd (“IPC”).  The MBI team is undertaking a buy-and-build strategy in the UK port sector with JST Services at its core.

JST was formed in 1993 by John Scott and is the market-leader in providing flexible port-handling services throughout the UK and Ireland via its modern fleet of specialist mobile cranes, floating piers, road haulage fleet, and maritime shipping services.

The investment by Shard Credit Partners will enable JST to expand its core offering through the upgrading of its crane fleet and will also include funding for a series of bolt-on acquisitions.

Richard Jennings, the new CEO of JST Ports & Logistics Holdings said: “John Scott and the JST Services team have built a well-respected and highly successful business which provides a solid platform for further strategic growth.  With the support of Shard Credit Partners we are keen to scale the company by expanding our presence in the port services sector organically and through targeted M&A activity to enable more consolidation across the industry, offering greater confidence and continuity to our customers.”

Alastair Brown, CEO of Shard Credit Partners, commented: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to work closely with a dynamic new management team who can build on the solid achievements of this business.  We are confident that JST Services (Scotland) Ltd can be instrumental in overcoming the fragmentation of the port sector through an M&A strategy that can lead to the creation of a network of operations that will give customers a consistent and reliable single-source service across the UK and in time, further afield.”

Providing corporate finance advice to Shard Credit Partners and the MBI team was Newcastle-based corporate finance boutique RG Corporate Finance (RGCF) led by Partner and Head of Corporate Finance, Carl Swansbury, supported by Corporate Finance Senior Manager, Rhiannon Nightingale. Business and transactional tax advice was provided by RG’s Business Tax Partner Simon Whiteside and Director, Simon Hopwood. Financial and Tax Due Diligence was carried out by RG’s Grahame Maughan, Andrew Cameron and Jon Routledge.

Rhiannon Nightingale, Corporate Finance Senior Manager at RGCF said: “This is a significant and technical transaction, bringing together a new management team and an experienced third-party funding provider that will ensure that JST Services (Scotland) Ltd has the resource and expertise required to embark on the next stage of its scale-up journey.  As the business identifies potential acquisition targets and continues with its ongoing organic growth, it has the potential to significantly grow its market share.”

Legal advice to Shard Credit Partners was provided by Gateley led by Partners Andrew Madden and Andrew Cowan.

JST were supported legally by John Fulton and Andrew Fleetwood, Partners at Gilson Gray LLP, with financial and tax advice from William Duncan & Co led by Managing Partner Robert Fergusson.

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