Huddersfield-based businessman Oliver North is set to acquire the firefighting division of the Venari Group in a move that goes back to the future.
Mr North, former CEO of the Venari Group, will start vehicle production and equipment distribution into the firefighting industry, subject to deal completion, under North Fire – a name the industry may recognise.
Mr North’s first company – North Fire Ltd – was based in Brockholes. Venari is currently based in Brighouse but North Fire Engineering’s new HQ and manufacturing facility will be in Huddersfield.
The original North Fire company was acquired in 2014 by Rosenbauer. Mr North grew Rosenbauer UK into a £20 million turnover company and left in 2019.
He became managing director at Goole-based ambulance maker O&H Vehicle Technology and later teamed up again with Huddersfield entrepreneur Ken Davy – an investor in the original North Fire – to complete a management buy-out, creating Venari Group.
Now Mr North is set to announce the acquisition of Venari Group’s firefighting division following a period of due diligence and employee consultation.
With Venari’s unrivalled increase in industry safety standards within the ambulance market, the firm is now set to embark on a significant increase in production for both the NHS and its supporting private fleet operators.
North Fire’s acquisition of Venari’s firefighting division was therefore deemed essential to ensure its team of specialist firefighting production engineers could drive innovation forward, separately, in the fire sector.
Mr North, managing director of North Fire, said: “I’m thrilled to announce the intention to acquire the firefighting division, alongside my world-class team, being in the industry we have the most passion for.
“In 2008 I launched North Fire Ltd which was hugely successful and ultimately acquired by one of the world’s largest firefighting technology manufacturers – which remains a success to this day.
“North Fire Engineering plans to launch with more experience, knowledge and hunger to drive competition and innovation as our fire services continue to answer ever evolving challenges.”
The North Fire team will consist of some of the firefighting industry’s most experienced and skilled production engineers that have worked together for the past decade.
Mr North added: “For the past few years Venari has consistently punched above its weight in the sector.
“During Covid, Venari was one of the only manufacturers in the industry to stay open to support the NHS, and over the past 18 months it has provided over 100 armoured ambulances for combat medic teams in Ukraine.
“I will therefore look back at my time leading Venari with huge pride. The production workers there are the best in their industry, without question.
“My passion lies in the firefighting sector, though, and so this planned acquisition and creation of North Fire will feel like I’m home.”