iMail Comms use communication tools to provide businesses with a range of cloud, API and desktop-based services that will improve your communication channel strategies.

UK Landscapes Ltd is a specialist contractor providing grounds maintenance, landscape construction, arboricultural services and winter services to the business sector at both local and national levels.

A landscaping business which maintains sites nationwide for leading supermarkets and utilities companies has secured a significant investment from Mercia’s private equity funds.

UK Landscapes, a family business which founded in 1997, now employs over 175 staff at its headquarters in Middlewich, Cheshire and regional depots throughout the UK including Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff, Reading and Harlow. The company serves blue-chip customers such as Asda, John Lewis, Waitrose, Shell, and Santander. The funding will enable it to step up its organic growth and pursue a ‘buy and build’ strategy in the sector.

UK Landscapes was founded by Andrew Preston and is now run by his son Leigh, who has been Managing Director since 2008. The company provides grounds maintenance, landscape construction, arboricultural and gritting services to supermarkets, facilities management, construction, utilities and the public sector. It has developed its own bespoke operating software, which helps drive efficiency, control and enhance the quality of data for clients.

The company, which increased turnover by 40% to £13.5m in the 12 months to February 2021, has recently completed its second acquisition with the purchase of Glasgow-based Euan Weir Landscaping.

As part of the deal, Martin Donnachie has been appointed as the company’s Chair. Martin has over 20 years’ experience in senior leadership roles in the housebuilding and utilities sectors and is also currently Chair of Aptus Utilities, which is backed by Westbridge Capital.

Leigh Preston, Managing Director, said: “I am really pleased to welcome both Mercia and Martin into UK Landscapes. Over the past few years the company has really started to excel in the market. We look forward to working closely with our new team to continue our success, breaking into new areas of the market and building on our strengths.”

The deal is the second deal by Mercia’s private equity funds within three months and follows its investment in Coventry-based Imail Comms to support its buy-out from DHL Parcel UK.

The Mercia team included Wayne Thomas and Matthew Molyneux. Wayne Thomas, Managing Director of Mercia’s private equity funds, said: “UK Landscapes has grown from a family-run regional operator to a national business competing with the big established players in the market. The grounds maintenance sector is ripe for consolidation. UK Landscapes is well positioned to diversify into new sectors and new geographical areas and become a leader in its field.”

Sophie Colloby at Dow Schofield Watts provided financial due diligence for Mercia, while Russ Cahill at Tax Advisory Partnership provided tax due diligence. Mike Murphy and Katy Oakes at Hill Dickinson provided legal advice to Mercia. Sam Davies and Ben Barlow at Cowgills provided corporate finance advice to UK Landscapes while Kate Richards at Gateleys provided legal advice to the company.

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Imail Comms, the Hybrid Mail business resulting from a recent MBO, has announced the appointment of two new directors to its Board. 

Guy Buswell, UK Mail’s former CEO, joins the Board as Executive Chairman and Stephen Agar, who until recently was Managing Director of Royal Mail’s letters business, becomes a non-executive director. Guy and Stephen were on opposite sides of the fence when they negotiated the first Downstream Access contract back in 2004. Nowadays most letters in the UK are posted through an Access agreement, more than 5 billion letters a year. 

Imail Comms was recently backed in its MBO from DHL Parcel UK by the Private Equity team of Mercia Asset Management PLC. Jill Williams, Deputy Fund Principal, commented: “Hybrid mail is undergoing rapid growth as it substitutes for stamped and franked mail processed in traditional mail rooms, with Imail Comms a leading player in the market. We are delighted to support Andy, Guy, Stephen and the team in the next phase of growth, and we look forward to further business development over the coming months.” 

Andy Barber, Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to be working with two postal industry ‘heavyweights’ who have a firm grasp on the current and future mail market. I am confident that both Guy’s and Stephen’s backgrounds will underpin our plans to expand our well-established and new Hybrid and Digital Mail services across the commercial and Public Sector. Their pedigree in Postal services reinforces our ambition to become the undisputed leader in Hybrid Mail services and I am delighted to welcome them both to the Board.” 

Guy Buswell added: “I’m very pleased to be able to support Andy and his team in achieving their goals for Imail Comms. Andy has taken our vision for Imail back in 2008 to arrive at the MBO today. I look forward to helping the team take this business to the next level. And welcome to Stephen Agar, the Downstream Access founder, who I worked with for many years while he was at Royal Mail.” 

Stephen Agar said: “I am looking forward to working with Andy, Guy and the great team at Imail Comms. It’s an open secret that mail works, particularly when used to complement digital. And Imail Comms is one of the easiest and least expensive ways of getting your messages delivered. This is going to be fun.” 


Specialist provider of high growth coaching services. Supporting ambitious entrepreneurs to realise their full potential and achieve levels of growth way above the norm.

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