Woodall Nicholson in the fast lane for growth

October 22nd, 2015

Investment Stories

Geoff Hudson, Woodall Nicholson

Geoff Hudson joined coachbuilders Woodall Nicholson in [1971] and has since held roles in every division. When investors including Enterprise Ventures bought into the company in 2013, Geoff – then Sales Director – decided to invest alongside them. Now as the company’s Managing Director, he is leading a transformation of the business.

Established in the 1820s, Woodall Nicholson manufactures funeral hearses, buses and emergency service vehicles under the brand names Coleman Milne, Mellor Coachcraft and Mellor Vancraft at its plants in Bolton and Rochdale. The management buy-in brought together Enterprise Ventures with Mosaic Private Equity Limited and RooGreen Ventures LLP – the syndicate which had worked together on the successful acquisition of Scarborough-based Plaxton Coachbuilders nine years earlier.

Working with Geoff, they have re-designed production, invested in new technology and minimised warranty claims amongst other initiatives. In the first year after the buy-in, turnover increased from £22m to £32m and staff numbers rose from 200 to 220. In 2014, the company also acquired the assets of two other firms – Bluebird Vehicles and AES.

Geoff Hudson says: “We’re proud to be manufacturers and local employers – we generate jobs for people. Manufacturing has declined all around us – but we’ve shown what can be done. Alongside the great work of our own teams, the support from Enterprise Ventures has been invaluable in helping us to grow.”

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