The multi-brand franchisor, Franchise Brands, has announced the acquisition of Willow Pumps, a water pump supply, installation and servicing business to complement and expand its plumbing brand, Metro Rod.
A family-owned business, Willow Pumps was founded in 1992 by Ian Lawrence to offer pump installation both below and above-ground. It offers routine servicing to its clients to reduce pump failures or blockages and has built a client base of customers in the hospitality, retail and housebuilding sectors.
Metro Rod sees the acquisition as a strategic opportunity for the company and its franchisees who will be given the opportunity to upskill, identify and self-deliver pump work utilising Willow Pumps’ expertise. This additional pump work is also expected to enhance franchisee’s profitability said the company.
Lawrence will continue as managing director of Willow Pumps, which currently employs 74 people, including 35 engineers, the majority of which operate from its main business premises at Aylesford, Kent. Lawrence will also join the senior management team at Franchise Brands.
Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman of Franchise Brands, commented: “The acquisition of Willow Pumps, a highly respected business and one of the leaders in the market, which Metro Rod has already worked alongside, provides the optimum way for Metro Rod to enter the specialist pump sector and develop this expertise across our franchise community.
“The long-term aim of the Group is to be able to serve our valued commercial customers with a “water in, waste out” range of plumbing-related services on a national basis. I am really looking forward to working with Ian Lawrence and his high-quality management team to create a national leader for drainage, pump and plumbing services.”
Lawrence said: “I am very excited about building on our success to date as part of a larger, publicly-quoted group with significant ambitions in the drainage, pumps and plumbing markets. The Group’s management and wider resources will be of particular value as we continue to grow Willow Pumps under Franchise Brands’ ownership.”
Metro Rod has a national network of more than 400 engineers working from 43 franchised depots. It offers a range of services from CCTV surveys and drain clearance to fat and grease management. The company also supports commercial clients with reactive and planned preventative maintenance services.
l From left: Stephen Hemsley, Joe Lawrence (service manager at Willow Pumps) and Ian Lawrence.