First Line Free From Finelist

A team of Birmingham-based financiers and advisors have been instrumental in completing the MBO of First Line, after the collapse of Stratford-based Finelist Group left First Line in administrative receivership. The race to complete the deal before the Christmas break has helped to secure over 100 jobs.

The deal was led and arranged by James Grenfell of corporate finance advisors Invex, with over £5 million of funding for the deal provided by Peter Clarke and Chris Hurley of Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity, and Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance.

First Line is a leading distributor of engine, chassis and braking products to the automotive aftermarket, and has been bought from the receiver of Finelist, Ernst Young. Finelist went into receivership in October, taking with it its subsidiary companies, including First Line.

First Line had however been consistently profitable since its inception in 1983 and has developed an extensive range of over 20,000 part numbers. The deal helps secure the future of the business which operates from sites in Bicester and Banbury, employing over 100 people.

The management team is led by Peter Joyner and John Madden who originally founded the business and grew it until 1997 when it was purchased by Finelist plc. They are joined by the current senior team, Alan Wood, Andy Simpson, Bob Knight and Steve McCormick, who between them have more than 100 years experience of the automotive after market.


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.

Peter Joyner, Managing Director

First Line is a well-established supplier of automotive parts to the aftermarket and has always been a profitable business. This MBO gave us the opportunity to back a strong, experienced management team, led by Peter Joyner, who have shown that they have the skills and experience necessary to grow the business within this market.

Pete Clarke, Investment Manager, Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity

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 of First Line

Other advisers to the transaction included Gateley Wareing (to management) Pinsent Curtis, RSM Robson Rhodes and MBD advised Aberdeen Murray Johnstone Private Equity.

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