Multidrive Tractors has been rescued by Gloucs-based sprayer specialist Kellands.

As reported on FWi, Multidrive went into administration following financial difficulties. The company was made up of three main divisions – military, earthmoving and agricultural.

It is this segment – Multidrive tractors – that attracted the interest of Kellands’ owner Chris Kelland.

“Multidrive – and Clayton before it – had a solid reputation for building strong tractor units that were always kept up to date,” he says.

“With over 300 units working worldwide, there’s a loyal customer base that requires service and spares back-up – business worth £180,000 last year.”

Although unprepared to disclose the exact value of the takeover, Mr Kelland did reveal that the amount the spare parts business generates on an annual basis wasn’t far from the figure required to clinch the deal.

“It seemed like a lot of money to splash out at the time,” he muses.

“But since actually getting hold of the company we’ve discovered about £1m of investment in research and development.”

Working drawings and plans are already in place for a £89,000 Multidrive six-wheeler. Three have been ordered by an Australian carrot grower to haul the crop off the field.

“It appears that Multidrive’s problem was that although very professional in their approach to R&D, the management neglected their responsibility to provide a reliable back-up service,” comments Mr Kelland.

And that is the reason he gives for believing that Kellands can make the business work. Originally a sprayer supplier and importer, the firm bought Frazier Agribuggy in 2000. Since then it has developed the low ground pressure vehicle but has not moved into the high capacity self-propelled sector.

“Because of our history we’ve always had parts and service at our core. The Multidrive business allows us to extend our offering to supply those customers who want a high capacity sprayer or spreader tractor unit with a mechanical – rather than hydrostatic – transmission.”

Production will continue at Multidrive’s base near Cheltenham with four of the original eight staff remaining.

The firm sold 20 tractors last year a figure Chris Kelland believes he can at least double within two years.