Pilot pockets £50m from flotation of Dyno-Rod

Jim Zockoll, the transatlantic pilot who founded the drain clearing business Dyno-Rod 40 years ago, is to pocket £50m from its sale and flotation next month.

Jim Zockoll, the transatlantic pilot who founded the drain clearing business Dyno-Rod 40 years ago, is to pocket £50m from its sale and flotation next month.

More than 20 pilots, stewardesses and mechanics who were colleagues of Mr Zockoll at Pan Am will share a further £10m between them. Dyno Group, a newly formed company, is paying £60.5m for the business, which has expanded from drains into plumbing, locksmithing and rat catching.

"I'm just too damn old," Mr Zockoll, 74, said yesterday. "I have been ready to go for the last few years but, although I have had a few approaches, no one has been able to raise the money until now."

Dyno Group plans to raise £48m from selling shares to help pay for the acquisition, with the rest funded by debt. It promises to expand franchises such as Dyno Locks and Dyno Plumbing.

Mr Zockoll founded Dyno-Rod in south London in 1963, having realised that there were no UK operators using electromechanical machines to unblock drains - machines that were widely available in his native United States.

At the time, he was flying to Britain two or three times a month, when his hotel suffered a blocked drain.

"The plumber couldn't clear it, so they had to call builders, who couldn't do it over Christmas, were going to have to dig up the dancefloor to get to the drains, and were going to charge 40,000 guineas [£42,000 in decimal currency] .

"I had some drain equipment in the house, so I offered to fly it over for 5,000 guineas and I did the job in about an hour and a half."

Mr Zockoll, nicknamed the Drain Brain, invested £20,000 to establish Dyno-Rod and he and his family own 85 per cent. The other 15 per cent is shared between other early investors, mainly staff from Pan Am with whom he has an annual reunion, fishing in Florida. They have backed many of Mr Zockoll's business ventures, which have included ice cream parlours in Germany and a business creating phone numbers from words made up of letters on phone keypads.

"Maybe three out of 10 have been successful," he said, adding that, despite these business interests, he continued flying for Pan Am until 1981 out of a feeling of "insecurity".

Dyno-Rod has grown into a group of businesses with 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 said: "I shall miss it in a sentimental way, and my heart will still skip when I see a Dyno van, but I won't miss coming into the office every day. I am not a salesperson, I am not into IT, and the business is changing and needs both of those things now."

Kevin Mahoney, the chief executive of Dyno Group, is a former executive of British Gas, one of Dyno-Rod's biggest single customers. The business has in recent years been run for cash to fund new businesses for Mr Zockoll's sons, he said. "It just needs a bit of tender loving care and I am sure we can get strong growth. Almost half the homes in the UK are more than 50 years old so, with an ageing drainage infrastructure, rebuilding work is picking up, largely driven by the insurers."

The new management team is paying a discounted £500,000 for £2.5m worth of shares in the new Dyno Group, and will own up to 14 per cent when performance-related share plans are added in. The company will initially list on AIM, but said yesterday that it plans to move to the main market as soon as possible. The Zockoll family will have a 10 per cent stake.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links