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Harrison Drury team advises on sale of Ribble Fuel Oils


Harrison Drury’s corporate team has played a role in a major deal that has seen Preston-based Ribble Fuel Oils sold to NWF Fuels.

The deal will drive further growth for NWF fuels, a £440m-turnover operation which is part of AIM-listed NWF Group plc, while providing an exit for Ribble Fuel Oils’ sole shareholder David Hodge.

David Hodge, owner of Ribble Fuel Oils’ parent company Hermon Hodge Ltd, will retain and grow the lubricants side of the business, Broughton Lubricants, which was demerged from Ribble Fuel Oils ahead of the deal.

Established in 1967 by David Hodge’s father Hermon, Ribble Fuel Oils has a turnover of £61m and employs around 40 staff. The company is a UK fuel distributor of diesel, gas, fuel oil, industrial heating oil, kerosene and petrol.

With depots in Preston, Southport, Halifax and Kirkby Lonsdale, and utilising terminals in Manchester, Bramhall and Stanlow, the business also trades under the names Leighton Oils, Preston Fuels and Active Fuel Cards. The business has supply relationships with five major UK oil refiners and oil trading companies.

NWF is a leading distributor of fuel oil and fuel cards, delivering more than 500 million litres across the UK to 59,000 customers. It is the third largest independent fuel distributor in the UK having grown through acquisitions. The purchase of Ribble Fuel Oils is its third acquisition in the last eight months.

Richard Huxley, managing director at NWF Fuels, commented: “Over the years David and his team have built a business with a strong geographic presence and customer service ethos and I am delighted that we have acquired a business with the strong reputation of Ribble Fuel Oils. This acquisition fits perfectly with our plans to grow our network and coverage across the UK.”

David Hodge said: “The world has changed enormously since I joined the family business in 1985, but our reputation for being a flexible, friendly and local supplier offering great customer service has remained the same. NWF Fuels share our values and will ensure continuity for our customers and staff.”

The Harrison Drury team was led by head of corporate David Filmer, corporate solicitor Kerry Southworth and Owen McKenna, director in commercial property team.

David Filmer commented: “We’re pleased to have supported David as he fulfilled his ambition to realise value in a business that has been part of his life for many decades. We wish him well as he now seeks to grow Broughton Lubricants as a separate business interest.”

David Hodge received financial and tax advice on the deal from MHA Moore and Smalley.

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