Teesside-based Chemoxy, one of Britain’s fastest growing, independent contract and speciality chemical manufacturers, received a £10m growth capital investment from BGF . At the same time, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) via its Complex Transaction Execution team in Leeds provided a £10m new working capital facilities taking the total funding package to £20m.
Chemoxy operates from two sites in Teesside. It provides specialised manufacturing services to a wide range of large blue chip companies in the chemical and oil and gas industry. In addition, it has developed its own portfolio of low-toxicity solvents – including its successful Coasol range – used in environmentally friendly paints, industrial coatings and cleaning products.
The business has experienced rapid growth since it was acquired from Dow Chemicals in 2011 in an MBO led by Chief Executive Ian Stark and Chief Operating Officer Martyn Bainbridge, increasing turnover from £34m to around £50m today. To date, the team has invested more than £10m in new plant and acquired new land at their Billingham site in preparation for future growth.
More than 130 people including chemical engineers and apprentices are employed, of which 32 percent are graduates/ PHDs. Its international presence continues to grow with around 60 percent of the chemicals produced or processed at the two sites shipped to overseas markets.
The business will use the new funding package to make further investments in capital and plant over the next four years in order to increase capacity, expand its product and service range and drive growth. Chemoxy’s management team has an ambition to grow revenue to in excess of £100m by 2020.
Hobs Reprographics, the largest independent 3D printing company in the UK received a £7m investment from BGF in December 2014 to support its growth strategy.
The investment is being used to roll-out further Hobs Studios, which house state-of-the-art 3D printing and animation, augmented and virtual reality and CGI solutions for architectural, engineering, construction and product designers. Customers work with Hobs Studio’s BIM and 3D printing experts during bid and construction projects, transforming 2D files into 3D masterpieces. The first Hobs Studios opened in Manchester in December 2013, followed by Clerkenwell, London in May 2014. The company plans to develop new facilities across the UK to provide a national service.
Founded in 1969 as a reprographics specialist, printing architectural drawings, Hobs manages onsite print rooms for customers in the legal, healthcare, utilities sectors, in addition to its digital offering. As a support partner to the construction team responsible for the new Wembley Stadium, Hobs was on-site providing all the 3D printing and drawing management services and managed the daily flow of documentation during the build.
In 2013, founder and chief executive Kieran O’Brien demonstrated Hobs’ 3D and augmented reality services at the Coronation Festival, which was held at Buckingham Palace. The Liverpool-headquartered company employs more than 300 people working across 29 offices in the UK, with revenue in excess of £30m.
Kieran O’Brien remained a majority shareholder in the business and appointed Peter Bertram to the board as non-executive chairman after being introduced by BGF. Peter has extensive, first-hand experience in the business services sector and was formerly chief executive of Azlan Group. He is non-executive chairman of Phoenix IT, chairman of Ten Alps and non-executive director of Microgen.
As part of the investment, Neil Inskip joined the board of the company as non-executive director.
Better Bathrooms crowned winners at the eCommerce Awards of Excellence 2013
BGF portfolio company and the UK’s largest independent bathroom and tile retailer, Better Bathrooms, took home the prestigious Best Home and Garden Retailer prize sponsored by Retail Focus at the eCommerce Awards for Excellence 2013.
The awards are a key event in the eCommerce calendar and within the Best Home and Garden Retailer category, Better Bathrooms went head to head with Victoria Plumb, Just Fabrics and World Stores.
The eCommerce Awards for Excellence in partnership with V.me by Visa and in association with IMRG, returned for its 5th year to celebrate excellence and innovation in ecommerce. Taking place alongside eCommerce Expo, both events combine to provide the annual networking event for the industry. The awards took place at the Marriot Hotel, Grosvenor Square and were an entertaining evening in the company of leading brands and influential figures in eCommerce today.
Founder Colin Stevens revealed: “I am so excited we have won an eCommerce Award for Excellence – this prize shows how much the business has achieved over the past 12 years and how important eCommerce is. The entire team are so proud of our achievements to date, and our constant ambition generates the motivation to reach greater accomplishments.”
BGF portfolio CEO crowned Young Director of the Year at the IoD North West Director of the Year Awards 2013
Better Bathrooms MD and Founder Colin Stevens has been named Young Director of the Year at the IoD North West award ceremony.
Colin beat three other shortlisted directors to the title; his entrepreneurial story and management style really does speak volumes on how to create and sustain a successful company. Following his win, he added:
“I am delighted to be named Young Director of the Year. It is a real honour to be shortlisted but to be rewarded with a win is like a fairy tale. I have a fantastic team at BetterBathrooms.com and I really want to thank everyone for following my ambitions to be the preferred bathroom retailer of choice. I hope my story and success inspires the next generation to aim high and never give up”.
Now in its 10th year, the Director of the Year awards celebrates the talent that makes the North West an inspiring place to do business. This year’s awards, which were sponsored by law firm Weightmans, featured nine categories, including the Weightman’s Award for Innovation, and overall Director of the Year.
Tony Attard, chairman of IoD North West, said:
“The Director of the Year awards are always a great event to be involved with, and this year was no exception. I’m very proud that in the last decade the awards have grown in popularity, and this year we received a record number of really high quality entries. Congratulations to all of the winners and those shortlisted, who have demonstrated this year that, despite a challenging economy, they have the drive and the commitment to push their organisations forward and really raise the bar for business in the North West.”
Better Bathrooms is one of the UK’s leading bathroom retailers and was founded in 2001 by Colin Stevens. Colin started the business from his bedroom at the age of 22, initially trading a range of products online via eBay.
Better Bathrooms sells bathroom products direct to consumers via its showrooms, its main website www.betterbathrooms.com, and telephone mail order catalogue. Better Bathrooms operates a buy direct business model, offering designer style and quality products at competitive prices.
In June 2013, BGF invested £10m of growth capital in the company. In addition, BGF introduced Paul Gilbert, non-executive chairman of The Gym Group and former FD of Matalan as the new non-executive chairman of the business.
In June 2015, Better Bathrooms appointed Lee Ellis as the new finance director with a position on the board. Lee has over 20 years’ experience as a finance professional and has previously held roles as head of commercial finance at Halfords, UK finance director at ghd and retail finance director at Phones 4u. Lee has also worked for several larger organisations, including Rolls-Royce and Asda.
BGF’s investment in Better Bathrooms is helping accelerate growth by allowing the company to explore alternative source supplies, expand into adjacent markets and potentially into new global geographies. The company has also demonstrated an impressive track record of growth from £7.5m revenue in 2009 to over £40m in 2014.
Colin Stevens and Better Bathrooms have won 26 awards.
Wear Inns continues acquisition trail
Wear Inns, a company focused on acquiring and managing a chain of community pubs across the North of England, has successfully acquired a further two premises from the Orchid Pub Group. The company acquired nine pubs from TCG Bars in July 2012, so has completed a total of 11 acquisitions only five months after receiving a £10 million funding package from NVM Private Equity (NVM) and Business Growth Fund (BGF). This will bring Wear Inns’ managed pub estate to a total of 26 premises.
The newly acquired premises include The Colonel Prior in Sunderland and The Park in Bradford. Both pubs fit nicely into Wear Inns’ target criteria of community-focused establishments with a potential for development.
John Weir, Managing Director of Wear Inns:
“In 2006, our objective was to acquire 20 pubs across the North East and Yorkshire, so we have achieved this and more over the years. We were clear that managed pubs were the way to go as they are clearly driving the market in terms of positive like- for-like growth. This year has been phenomenal and we are delighted to complete the second part of our acquisition strategy – with help from NVM and the Business Growth Fund.”
Mauro Biagioni, Director of NVM Private Equity:
“John Weir and John Sands have used their extensive experience of managing large pub chains to build up an impressive estate of premises across the North. This is a management team that truly understands its market and its customers. We are pleased to be a part of their ongoing success in an industry that has had its ups and downs over the years.”
David Colclough, Investment Director at BGF:
“In Wear Inns, we are backing a company with a clear strategy of buying and building an estate of revitalised community pubs in the North of England and this latest acquisition is a demonstration that this progress continues at pace. It is a compelling growth story and one which we are delighted to be involved in.”
Duncan Reid, Partner and Head of Corporate Law at Watson Burton:
“Wear Inns is a company which has gained strength and momentum over the last year with key acquisitions in the North of England. The key to its success is the management team’s ability to acquire and manage pubs under the Wear Inns’ brand whilst retaining the individuality of the community where each pub is located. As a firm, we have advised Wear Inns for a number of years and taken great pleasure in watching the company grow. We are sure that the latest of their acquisitions will be as successful as the last and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavours.”