BGF continued to back the UK’s innovative print sector when it invested £5.3m in Sussex-headquartered Pureprint Group in December 2014. BGF’s investment is supporting organic growth, further investment in its market-leading technology and providing the financial means for future acquisitions. BGF invested equity finance in Pureprint for a minority stake in the business.
Pureprint has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with revenue growing from £17m in 2009 to over £40m in the financial year ending December 2014. Based in Uckfield and founded in 1926 by the grandfather of current chief executive Mark Handford, the company provides lithographic and digital printing as well as packaging and outsourcing services, with a focus on quality, service and environmental sustainability. Its roster of over 300 clients includes many premium brands including Mulberry, Victoria Beckham, NetJets and Vertu, more than 50 FTSE 100 companies including Rolls Royce and BP, and charities including Fairtrade and Oxfam. Pureprint is also internationally renowned for producing fine art books and catalogues and clients include Gagosian Gallery and Sotheby’s in New York and London. The company currently employs 275 staff.
Pureprint was the first printer in the world to be awarded CarbonNeutral status in 2002 and sustainability is central to the company’s offering. The business has won a number of awards including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in 2003, 2008 and 2013.
Mark Handford and his sister Bridget Massey, HR director, remained as majority shareholders following BGF’s investment. Handford appointed Andy Nash, introduced by BGF, as non-executive chairman. Following an extensive career in FMCG marketing, Nash is also Chairman of Brand Addition and ICA Digital. Jon Simon, senior investment manager at BGF, joined the board as non-executive director.
Furniture Village, the largest independent furniture retailer in the UK, secured a £6m investment from the BGF in August 2014.
Furniture Village was established in 1989 by co-founder and CEO, Peter Harrison, with a simple philosophy: to offer truly excellent products, prices and service to all its customers. The company’s core product category is sofas, alongside cabinet furniture, beds and accessories. Marking its 25th anniversary of trading at the time of BGF’s investment and still independently owned, the business has 40 stores across the UK, employs 760 people and generates revenues of £200m per annum.
BGF’s funding is enabling Furniture Village to accelerate a roll-out expansion of new stores across the UK, as well as bolstering an ongoing investment in technology: to enhance the customer experience in-store and further develop the company’s e-commerce platform. BGF took a minority stake in the business and Jon Simon joined the board as BGF’s representative.
Furniture Village is uniquely positioned at the top end of the volume market and prides itself in being the largest retailer of leading brands in the sector, the majority of which are sourced from the UK. With its accent on quality and design it is well-placed to take advantage of improving economic and market conditions.
Peter Harrison, CEO of Furniture Village commented:
“Having achieved a significant improvement in trading performance in our last financial year ending March 2014, which has continued strongly into this current year, this is an ideal time for us to expand and further enhance our presence, both in terms of physical stores and online.
We are appreciative of BGF’s support and confidence, and beyond the many other potential benefits that will arise from our new and close association, this substantial investment will enable us to accelerate our plans and for Furniture Village to remain at the forefront of British retail in its sector.”
Jon Simon, Senior Investment Manager, BGF commented:
“This represents an exciting opportunity for BGF to back a well known British brand with a strong heritage and a track record of profitability. We are supporting a clear growth strategy based on selective store roll-out and investment in new software. This in turn, will improve the operational efficiencies of the business and increase the focus on e-commerce, all of which will add to the customer experience. Over 25 years Furniture Village has developed into one of the UK’s leading furniture retailers and we look forward to supporting the management team as the company embarks on this next phase of growth.”
Joe joined BGF in July 2013 and is based in the London office. He is responsible for originating, executing and managing investments in London and the south east. He has been involved in six transactions to date and leads BGF’s AIM activities in the region.
Prior to BGF Joe spent three years as an investment director at EPIC Private Equity, a fund focused on growth capital investments in, and buyouts of, UK SMEs. Joe was a director of several portfolio companies in the retail, consumer and business services sector.
He began his career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working across a range of sectors. Before entering the private equity industry in 2010, Joe worked at Betfair.com and led strategic projects in the UK sports business, principally in product development and marketing.
Joe has an MA in Economics & Management from Oxford University. He is married with two children and lives in Kent. Outside of work he plays a dwindling amount of golf and hobbles around several triathlon courses each summer.
“The most exciting aspect of my role is meeting with a wide variety of entrepreneurs and ultimately working with them to achieve their ambitions. We bring a different form of funding and support to UK SMEs and as a result we have the opportunity to back some of the most appealing businesses in the country.”
- Rethink (Board Director)
- Pureprint (Board Director)
- Furniture Village (Board Observer)
- Plastique (Board Observer)
- adept4 Plc
- Sophia Webster (Board Director)