First Line is an internationally renowned distributor of matching OE components, engine, chassis and braking products, and has almost 30 years’ experience in the automotive aftermarket.

Headquartered in Oxfordshire and with multiple locations around the world, First Line is a global supplier to the independent repair sector.

First Line was a successful and profitable business however, the collapse of the parent company left First Line in receivership and a deal needed to be completed quickly in order to secure over 100 jobs.

John Madden and I founded First Line in 1983. We are both delighted that we have found a supportive funder and been able to buy our business back. Along with the rest of the team, John and I now look forward to being able to develop the business further and continue the ethos of putting customers first.

Peter Joyner, Managing Director


Orbis worked closely with the management team to lead a deal to secure the business; identifying and securing private equity and debt funding for the business. Orbis also invested alongside the management team.

Specifically, Orbis:

  • Worked with the management team to understand the business
  • Developed a detailed three-year cash flow forecast and business plan
  • Developed an appropriate funding structure and approached relevant banks and alternative investors
  • Led the preparation and review of the financial due diligence on behalf of the shareholders
  • Worked alongside the business’ tax advisor to ensure the transaction was structured and completed in the most tax efficient manner
  • Worked alongside the legal team to negotiate the legal agreements

Since the MBO, First Line has continued to grow and has since moved premises into a state of the art facility. The business generated a revenue of over £34m for the year ended December 2015.

Intrinsic Equity, the investment vehicle of Orbis Partners retains an equity state in the business.

Registered in England No.9098428 Registered Office: One Eleven, Edmund St, Birmingham B3 2HJ
The statutory directors of Orbis Partners Ltd are Chris Gregory, James Grenfell, Gary Ecob and Shah Zaki.