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Steel piling specialists engineer growth plan with support from Clydesdale Bank

18 November 2015

An engineering firm that is helping to deliver the modernisation of the Great Western mainline, one of the UK’s biggest rail projects, is on track to grow following a management buyout supported by Clydesdale Bank.

Pipe and Piling Supplies (PPS), which is based in Glenrothes, Fife, is being acquired by existing managing director, Alistair Cochrane, for an undisclosed sum.

Clydesdale Bank provided a significant funding package to assist with the transaction along with facilities to deliver growth. The deal was carried out by Andrew Carson, Senior Director in Clydesdale Bank’s Specialist and Acquisition Finance team.

PPS manufactures steel foundation piles and overhead structures for infrastructure customers including Network Rail and Balfour Beatty. Since joining the business in 2008, Alistair has focused on expanding the business and increasing profitability. Turnover has risen from £1.59m seven years ago to an estimated £20m in the current financial year.

The funding provided by Clydesdale Bank will enable PPS, which supports about 70 jobs across the UK, including up to 30 at a fabrication plant in Bridlington, North Yorkshire, to pursue significant growth plans including increased work within the UK and rail infrastructure sectors.

The business is involved in some of the UK’s biggest rail projects including the Great Western Electrification Programme. The route is being upgraded and electrified to create faster, more reliable services and increased freight capacity as part of the biggest investment in the line since it was built more than 150 years ago.

PPS has secured a £20 million framework agreement with the project which it is seeking to extend.

It is also under contract to the Northern Hub project which will improve travel on key routes across the north of England and helped to deliver London’s new Canary Wharf Crossrail Station, which is part of the biggest construction project in Europe.

The station, which is due to open in 2018, has already won international acclaim for its innovative engineering and design. Built in 10m deep dock water, the site required a specially constructed cofferdam for which PPS supplied the anchor piles.

Following PPS’s rapid growth the business recently recruited three graduates. It plans to create further high quality entry-level apprentice jobs as part of its expansion plans.

Alistair Cochrane, managing director at PPS, said: “We are thrilled to have secured the support of Clydesdale Bank, which has a first class track record in growing SMEs.

“Investment in Britain’s railway network and other infrastructure projects has provided PPS with a great opportunity to grow. Our new management team is working hand in hand with Clydesdale Bank to take advantage of the exciting opportunities in the marketplace and deliver further expansion. We also have ambitious plans to strengthen the business including a new health and safety initiative which we will showcase next year.”

Andrew Carson, Senior Director in Clydesdale Bank’s Specialist and Acquisition Finance team, said: “We are proud to support PPS, a strong, well-managed business which has gone from strength to strength since Alistair joined the business seven years ago.

“We believe that PPS has further growth potential and have provided a mix of facilities that will not only support the new management structure but will also enable Alistair and his team to continue building the business and achieve their growth aspirations.”

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