Amber Cars becomes third major deal for Veezu
One of the north’s leading private hire firms has been taken over by ambitious Welsh group Veezu.
Leeds-based Amber Cars which has more than 750 drivers on its books, including 150 company-owned vehicles, becomes Veezu’s third acquisition in 13 months. The deal takes Veezu’s fleet to more than 2,250 cars and 235 staff. Turnover has risen from £1 million 12 months ago to a projected £22m for 2015-16.
Veezu CEO Paul Ragan (left) welcomes Amber Cars’ MD Andy Pennock to the Veezu board
Veezu, established in late 2013 and headquartered in Newport, South Wales, was founded by Paul Ragan, founder of Welsh insurance broker Protectagroup, and Nathan Bowles, founder of Smart Solutions Recruitment, who say their plan is to lead consolidation in the UK Private Hire Sector.
CEO Ragan said: “Amber is our largest purchase to date, and a business that brings with it not only a quality mobile application and iCabbi dispatch system, but great people, which is one of the key benefits of acquisition.”
Ragan said Veezu had “a number of substantial acquisitions in the pipeline”, adding: “We have many exciting projects bubbling away that will see both consumers and drivers benefit, which need to become fully operational, something the team and I are most certainly looking forward to!”
Amber Cars was established by managing director Andy Pennock 25 years ago, and has grown to be the biggest taxi firm in Leeds, and one of the largest in the UK.
Ragan said: “The acquisition of Amber Cars is part of our growth strategy to launch six regional hubs across the UK. Amber Cars is an extremely professional and successful business and is a perfect match to our current portfolio.”
Andy Pennock will remain in the business after the sale is completed, and will join the Veezu board. He will be tasked with integrating the businesses and will work alongside the Veezu management team.
Pennock said: “This is an immensely exciting day for Amber Cars. Veezu is a large and established UK operator which shares our focus on investing in new technology to raise the bar and create a ‘best-in-class’ offering for all B2C and B2B customers.”
Earlier in the year Veezu bought Cardiff-based Dragon Taxis in a multi-million pound deal supported by Santander Corporate & Commercial, and earlier it acquired Solihull-based A2B Radio Cars. The firm already owned Bridgend-based Radio Cabs, and Dragon Taxis in Newport.
Ragan said Veezu planned to merge the Bridgend and Newport businesses, which will see the company grow to 1,000 cars servicing South Wales, including the 600 that have transferred from Cardiff.