VEEZU has today announced a new finance facility with Santander and Tosca Debt Capital to enable it to further grow its positioning as the UK’s largest multi-region private hire car company.
The arrangement will fully refinance Veezu’s capital structure to enable it to bolster its market-leading positioning.
Veezu, which was founded in 2013, operated with more than 4650 active driver-partners during 2019, delivering more than 13 million private hire journeys per year, equating to an overall transaction value in excess of £120million.
This performance places Veezu as the largest PHV company in the UK.
On completion of the refinance, Veezu also confirmed the appointment of Alan Peterson OBE as Chairman to further support the company’s growth plans.
Mr Peterson, who is currently non-executive chairman of HSS Hire Group and BBI Diagnostics Group has been involved in a number of public and private x businesses in the UK, Europe and North American over the past 25 years. Chair or CEO roles have included those at Pattonair Aerospace, Enterprise Group, Azelis Holding SA, Refresco BV, Rockware Group and Meyer International PLC.
Nathan Bowles, CEO at Veezu, said: “We are grateful to Santander, Gambit Corporate Finance, Tosca Debt Capital and Osborne Clarke for the time they have taken to understand our business and the belief they have shown in our growth strategy.
"This latest refinance supports our ambition to grow our presence in our existing operating regions and to broaden our position as the UK’s number one hyperlocal journey provider.
"We were also very pleased that Alan Peterson decided to commit to the Veezu business having worked with us over the past 12 months.
"Alan’s experience and direction has been invaluable over the past 12 months, the management team here at Veezu are looking forward to working closer with him to deliver the vision we have set for 2020 and beyond."
Peter Abel, Director of Growth Capital at Santander UK, has supported Veezu in this latest aspect of the company’s continued drive for expansion and said: “Veezu has established a loyal customer base in the UK thanks to a series of successful acquisitions and organic growth over the last decade.
"We have worked with Veezu for five years and have seen the company increase its profitability tenfold over that period – capitalising on technological advancements and improving its range of customer services.
"This funding will further support this trajectory and increase the presence of Veezu in new regions across the UK as well as its existing South Wales, South West, West Midlands and Leeds areas.”
Gambit Corporate Finance LLP acted as lead advisors on the transaction. Gambit were responsible for initiating the transaction, negotiating terms with Veezu’s exiting shareholders and advising Veezu on raising its facilities from Santander and Tosca Debt Capital.
Jason Evans, Partner, Debt Advisory at Gambit, worked alongside Partner, M&A, Geraint Rowe, Manager Sam Forman and Director Simon Marsden.
Mr Evans said: “Veezu has a best-in-class management team which, under Nathan’s strategic leadership, has delivered an exemplary growth track record and is a true market-leader in its sector.
"Veezu is recognised as the predominant independent consolidator in the UK private hire vehicle market and we are delighted to have acted on the refinancing in what is an exciting and evolving sector.
“Our extensive knowledge of the funder market has delivered a tailor-made debt solution enabling a reorganisation of Veezu’s shareholder base and providing the financial backing for the next stage of its strategic growth, converting its significant acquisition pipeline.”
Oliver Reece, Investment Director at Tosca Debt Capital, commented: “We are delighted to partner with Veezu for the next phase of its growth. Nathan and the team have a clear vision for the future and are well-placed to capitalise on a number of exciting opportunities to take the business to the next level.”
Osborne Clarke LLP acted as legal advisors in the agreement, dealing with banking documentation and shareholder arrangements.
Osborne Clarke partner Al Livingstone; Partner Simon Spooner; Associate Director Chris Yeo and Associate Hannah Stevens formed a corporate team to partner with Partner Michael Carter; Senior Associate in Incentives Rhiannon Jones, Partner Tom Bussy and Senior Associate Tom Berisford from Osborne Clarke LLP’s Banking side.
Mr Livingstone said: "We were delighted to support Nathan and the company on this refinancing which allows the business to move forward with the next stage of its expansion."
Mr Bowles concluded: “Veezu will continue to provide unrivalled customer experience to passengers through significant investments in technological advancements and best-in-class service which will also provide additional opportunities and benefits for our driver-partners to maximise their earning potential.
“We have built a reputation for attracting the best talent and investing in our office and hub employees to co-ordinate the delivery of millions of journeys while keeping the towns and cities in which we operate, moving safely and efficiently. Compliance and safety have and always will remain front and centre for us and this will remain the case.”
Image credit: Veezu