Woodall Nicholson, the Westhoughton headquartered manufacturer of specialist vehicles for the funeral, public transport and emergency services markets, secured a substantial investment from BGF. The funding will support the increased production of its new environmentally friendly, low floor buses at its site in Rochdale, along with the company’s longer term growth plans in its other divisions.
Woodall Nicholson manufactures and sells vehicles under the Coleman Milne, Mellor and Coleman Milne Specialist Vehicles (CMSV) brands, converting vehicles from major OEMs including Mercedes, Ford, BMW, Volkswagen Audi Group, Fiat and Iveco. The company’s origins date back to 1820 when its main activity was building horse drawn hansom cabs and carriages.
Throughout 2016, the business has successfully launched a number of new products, including its unique Mercedes based 22 seater low floor bus, Strata, aimed at the stage transit bus operator and community transport markets. The company plans to introduce further new products and double production of vehicles across its Mellor range, which focuses on small buses for local authorities and bus operators.
Woodall Nicholson also plans to use BGF’s funding to support organic growth and the launch of new products in its funeral vehicle and emergency service vehicle divisions.
The company is led by CEO Geoff Hudson, who joined Woodall Nicholson as an apprentice 46 years ago, supported by Finance Director Dan Jackson who joined the business in 2013. More than 230 people are employed at its factories in Westhoughton, near Bolton, Rochdale and Scarborough.
Mosaic Private Equity, Enterprise Ventures and RooGreen Ventures completed a buy-in management buyout of the business in July 2013. At that point Brian Davidson was appointed Chairman. All parties remain substantial shareholders and supportive partners in the company.