June 29, 2022

Thomas Group: From small acorns…

Since its establishment in 2000, strong organic growth has seen Thomas Group develop from a small fleet carrying out groundworks at local sites into a leader in groundwork and plant hire operations by adding various different strings to its bow.

Headquartered in Holywell, the Group now trades from eight sites and operates across a number of divisions, with the two main profit contributors being Thomas Plant Hire and Thomas Contracting, a market leading provider of groundworks and civil engineering in the North-West region. The Group’s plant hire services are typically offered to major construction industry clients and property developers, with much of its exposure being in the resilient subsectors of infrastructure and residential development.

Founded by current CEO, Wyn Thomas, today the business is supported by an ambitious, experienced management team. The Group has positioned itself well with greater exposure to the resilient ends of the construction market, with around 75% of its plant hire revenues being generated from public infrastructure or residential construction. The remaining 25% are in commercial, industrial and other sectors. 

While the majority of its growth has been achieved organically, Thomas Group also has a track record of successfully acquiring and integrating small businesses on a selective, opportunistic basis. 

The progress that the Group has achieved over the years has led to a robust infrastructure that gave it a high degree of resilience throughout the Covid pandemic. This enabled it to manage the initial downturn in the construction industry, which was followed by a quick recovery to record revenues and profits during FY20. The success has continued in FY21 and into FY22. 

Having grown so strongly since its formation, the Group is well placed to make the most of the growing number of opportunities that are being seen within the marketplace, even in the face of recent challenges, such as inflation in materials and machinery. Thankfully these issues haven’t prevented the business from making the most of its inherent strengths, particularly its flexibility and the ‘one stop shop’ service it can provide to customers for all their civils/ groundworks needs. It is now striving to continue to make the most of these qualities in order to keep growing and increase profitability further. After securing a new £100m funding package, this will be used to support the company’s future growth plans with £50m having been earmarked for new machinery for the rest of the year with more to follow in 2023.

(L-R) Gwyn Thomas, Group Service Manager; Wyn Thomas, CEO, and Daniel Sullivan, Operations Director.

Another significant aspect of the Group’s future plans is focused on sustainability and it currently operates a number of electric machines, although demand for these remain relatively low. Despite this, it is ensuring that its fleet remains constantly updated, as the newer machinery is more carbon efficient. It also has electric cars on order and has received two of them in the last three months with more to follow.

Thomas Plant Hire Ltd

Thomas Plant Hire (‘TPH’) provides construction machinery, predominantly on a short term hire basis, which makes up 90% of overall turnover. 

Hire fleet include dozers, dumpers, excavators, telehandlers, road sweepers and ATVs / gators from a range of high end manufacturers.

With six strategically located depots across the UK, state-of-the-art hire systems and a fleet of 34 HGV delivery vehicles, TPH can react quickly and efficiently to client hire requirements.

Thomas Contracting Ltd 

Thomas Contracting (‘TC’) contributed just over a third of total FY21 Group turnover.

TC has built an outstanding reputation in the groundwork and civil engineering sector in the North-West.

More recently the staple work has been in the buoyant house building sector and less activity in the commercial construction sector. That said, the business remains flexible in its ability to meet customer demand. 

One of the company’s strongest qualities is the ability to adapt to constantly changing demands and to embrace the developing techniques in construction.

Thomas Plant Sales

Formed in 2019, the business disposes of ex-hire fleet items via a dedicated team constantly monitoring market pricing. Customers include trade dealers and end users. For-sale items remain in hire fleet until sold, for maximum utilisation.

On Grade Machine Control (OGMC)

Started in August 2019, OGMC provides sales, hire, service and training for Intelligent GPS machine control systems, a fast growing sector in construction machinery. A fleet of 160 hire units and associated ancillary equipment with a team of six experienced fitters and support staff makes OGMC one of the largest GPS Machine Control Hire companies in the UK.

Manton Forklift Trucks

Manton is one of the main dealers for Doosan forklifts and was acquired in 2019.

Both New and Used Fork trucks and materials handling equipment are sold by Manton.

Thomas Tool Hire Ltd

Equipped with a hire fleet of over 2,000 items and a number of fully equipped workshops, Thomas Tool Hire provides a comprehensive offering for all its customers. The business also provides periphery services such as inspection, servicing and repair of small plant items.

SOS Hose Services Limited

Acquired by Thomas Group in 2017, SOS Hose Services Ltd provides a wide range of fluid/air transfer solutions. The majority of customers are from the construction, transport and manufacturing sectors, but also include members of the public.

Thomas Plant Body and Repairs

Started in 2016 and operating out of a purpose-built paint and body shop, this business completes all of the repairs and paint work carried out on the Group’s fleet.

Thomas Attachments Limited

The youngest company under the Thomas Group umbrella, Thomas Attachments limited provides hire and sales of all attachments used for construction machinery.