Acquisition for PE-backed transport management software firm

A Northumberland-based transport management software provider has acquired an online haulage and freight exchange in a deal funded by private equity firm LDC. Mandata, led by chief executive Chris Rigg, designs and develops software that allows road transport operators to manage workflow and data more effectively. The acquisition of Returnloads.net is set to expand the company's customer base and breadth of digital services.

Headquartered in Essex, Returnloads.net is an online marketplace for hauliers and freight forwarders. It offers its members the opportunity to subcontract jobs and to advertise empty vehicle capacity that often results from having to run an empty load on a return journey. The deal was funded by mid-market private equity investor LDC and debt facilities were provided by Santander.

Since securing backing from LDC in 2018, Mandata has grown recurring revenues by 10 per cent each year and has pursued a growth strategy focused on investment in its products and proposition. In April 2020, the company launched Mandata Now, a new transport management system for haulage and logistics operators with fewer than ten vehicles. Chris Rigg, chief executive of Mandata, said: "Returnloads.net's focus on using digital solutions to benefit the road transport and logistics sector matched our own objectives perfectly.

This acquisition will help us diversify and expand our offering, while continuing to give customers the tools they need to reduce costs, drive efficiencies and improve productivity. "Since LDC's investment, we have made significant progress on our growth plan. Innovation underpins our model, so it's been invaluable to work with a partner that understands how to support technology businesses and has the financial firepower, sector knowledge and heritage in the North East we need to achieve our ambitions."

Gareth Marshall, head of Newcastle at LDC, added: "LDC actively supports management teams which are looking to grow their businesses through acquisition. This acquisition is a major milestone in Mandata's growth journey and evidence of the strength of the North East's technology sector during such an uncertain time for businesses. "We have worked closely with Chris and the team to fund and support this acquisition.

I'm confident Mandata is now even better positioned to help customers thrive as UK transport becomes increasingly digital."

Mandata was advised by Muckle (legal) and KPMG (financial due diligence).

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