Dyno-Rod float down the drain after founder refuses to sell

The flotation of Dyno-Rod, the famous drain-clearing business, has collapsed after its founder refused to sell.

The flotation of Dyno-Rod, the famous drain-clearing business, has collapsed after its founder refused to sell.

Jim Zockoll, the former transatlantic pilot who set up the business in 1963, told the planned new management team yesterday morning that he was pulling out of the deal.

His decision came even though the consortium, Dyno Group, scraped together the full £60.5m asking price after a frantic round of investor meetings on Thursday. Dyno had been planning to float on AIM immediately after acquiring Mr Zockoll's business, which has expanded in recent years from drains into plumbing, locksmithing and rat catching.

The Dyno camp was mystified as to Mr Zockoll's reasons for ending talks after 18 months. One rumour in the City was that he had received an offer from overseas. Mr Zockoll was not returning calls yesterday.

Kevin Mahoney, the former British Gas executive who would have run Dyno Group, said he was hugely disappointed. "I am proud of the fact that we raised the money in difficult market conditions, and disappointed at having fallen at the final fence. But when you are dealing with a private seller, who has a different landscape and different criteria, these things happen." He added that he was sorry for the franchisees and employees who had committed £1m of their own money for stakes in the floated company.

Dyno Group had planned to list two days ago, but Seymour Pierce, its broker, was struggling to raise Mr Zockoll's long-standing asking price and had to postpone.

It was only late on Thursday, after additional equity investors emerged, that the full £60.5m was achieved, through a combination of equity and debt financing.

Mr Zockoll asked to think about the deal overnight and yesterday informed Dyno Group through an adviser that he was walking away.

The 74-year-old American founded Dyno-Rod after flying over electromechanical machines used in the US to unblock a drain at the London hotel used by Pan Am pilots. He and his family own 85 per cent of the company, with the remainder shared among more than 20 former stewardesses, pilots and mechanics who were his colleagues at Pan Am.

Dyno-Rod has annual revenues of £56m across its 167 franchises, generating £12m of franchise fees and £4.5m of earnings, before interest and tax, for the central company. Mr Zockoll had previously said he would use the sale proceeds to invest in Phonenames, a venture run by his son, Steven.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
science
News
news
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003