3i has sold its interest in Lichfield, UK-based Palletways to Phoenix Equity Partners for an undisclosed sum as part of a secondary buyout transaction. 3i, which bought the business in April 2002 for £12m, says its investment in Palletways has brought it a 72% return.
Phoenix Equity Partners has bought in James Wilson, the ex European senior vice president of TNT Express Worldwide, to be the new CEO of Palletways. Palletways was set up in 1994 and claims 30% of the UK market in overnight distribution of small consignments of palletised freight. Under 3i’s ownership the business has grown both nationally and undertaken development of its European business.