Newport taxi company grows by 2200% with third acquisition in 13 months

L-R Paul Ragan, CEO Veezu and Andy Pennock, MD of Amber Cars.

Newport based Veezu, the taxi and private hire group, has completed its third acquisition in thirteen months and added a fifth taxi company to its portfolio with the acquisition of Amber Cars in Leeds. The multi-million pound deal was supported with a strong funding package from Beechbrook Capital LLP, based in London.

Veezu is the brainchild of two prominent Welsh entrepreneurs; Paul Ragan (founder of Welsh insurance broker, Protectagroup) and Nathan Bowles (founder of Smart Solutions Recruitment), who both have ambitious plans to lead consolidation in the UK Private Hire Sector.

Veezu already owns Cardiff based Dragon Taxis, Radio Cabs in Bridgend, Dragon Taxis in Newport and Solihull based A2B Radio Cars. Today, Veezu provides work for over 2,200 drivers and moves in excess of 20 million passengers per annum. Veezu has committed significantly to a number of key infrastructure developments including a new mobile application, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and cloud based technology.

The multi-million pound finance package from Beechbrook enables Veezu to continue its impressive growth, which sees the business move from a £1m turnover twelve months ago to a projected £22m for 2015/16.

Paul Ragan, CEO, Veezu Ltd, said: “Amber is our largest purchase to date, and a business that brings with it not only a quality mobile application and i-Cabbi dispatch system, but great people, which is one of the key benefits of acquisition. Completing three multi-million pound purchases in just over twelve months is no mean feat, “BUT” despite having a number of substantial acquisitions already in the pipeline, we remain focused over the next quarter on the businesses to hand. 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!”

Tim Johnston, Beechbrook Capital, said: “Beechbrook is delighted to have funded Veezu’s acquisition of Amber Cars, which confirms Veezu’s position as one of the leading private hire operators in the UK.  This investment is a good example of how Beechbrook aims to support SMEs in achieving their growth plans. We look forward to working with Veezu’s management team as they continue to lead the consolidation and technological development of the UK taxi industry.”

Andy Pennock, Managing Director at Amber Cars, will remain in the business post sale and form part of the Veezu board. He will be instrumental in helping to integrate the two businesses working alongside the Veezu management team.

Andy Pennock, Managing Director Amber Cars said: “This is an immensely exciting day for Amber Cars. Veezu is a large and established UK operator who 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. It’s business as usual for all our valued existing and new customers.”

The UK Private Hire and Hackney industry is estimated to be worth £8bn. The sector is changing quickly with new technologies entering the market. De-regulation has recently received RoyalAscent, which is likely to increase consolidation as cross-border hire is likely to become a restriction no longer later this year.