BGF in £5.6m follow on funding
In May 2014, BGF announced investments totalling £5.6m, of follow-on capital, into two investee businesses: award-winning Mexican street food chain, Barburrito (£3.6m) and budget gym chain, Xercise4Less (£2m).
BGF retained a minority stake in each of these businesses following the investments.
John Swarbrick, BGF’s Head of Portfolio, commented:
“We are an investor of just three years standing and the majority of our investments are still less than 18 months old. However, we are already seeing many encouraging signs of growth across the portfolio of companies that we have backed. This sort of sustained growth often requires the provision of further funding and the ability to provide this forms a critical element of BGF’s offer.”
Morgan Davies, MD and founder of Barburrito, said of the additional funding:
“We started this great burrito race in the UK and as I have always said, this is more than a business…it’s a passion. The further funding provided by BGF is a great step forward for our business. It offers us a vote of confidence and most importantly, the funds with which to continue to take the business forward.”
Since BGF backed Barburrito with an initial investment of £3.25m in March 2012, it has opened three new restaurants across London and additional sites in Leeds and Nottingham; and has established its position as the UK’s first burrito bar with a national presence. Its existing sites have also continued to experience strong like for like sales growth. The company’s turnover has doubled over the past year alone with a net sales run rate of over £8m, and it now employs 200 people nationwide.
Following this latest investment, Graham Turner the former CEO of the Tragus Group (the UK’s largest independent restaurant companies with more than 290 sites across the country) has joined the board of Barburrito as a Non-Executive Chairman. This introduction was made via BGF’s Talent Network.
Leeds based low cost gym chain, Xercise4Less, which received a £5m investment from BGF in August 2013, is also performing strongly and is on track to secure a further 11 sites this year, bringing its total to 29 gyms located across the country.
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.”
York Mailing extends print offering with The Lettershop Group acquisition
BGF portfolio company York Mailing Limited, the UK market leader in the specialist production of retail flyers, media inserts and quality catalogues has completed the acquisition of The Lettershop Group (TLG), one of the leading print marketing and mailing solution providers in Europe.
The acquisition will add significant complementary and technologically advanced printing capabilities to the York Mailing group.
Founded in 1886 and based in Leeds, TLG had historically focused on direct mailing for the financial services industry but has since expanded into the retail sector and now offers a wide range of marketing services including data analytics, marketing strategy and digital media. Customers include Marks & Spencer, Sky and Tesco. In the 2013 financial year, TLG generated turnover of £20m and employs 200 staff.
The enlarged business will have an unrivalled hybrid digital and web offset printing platform with significant technological advantage over competitors and a compelling customer offering.
The enlarged Group’s turnover will reach almost £100m and it will employ 500 staff across its 3 sites. David McGolpin and Simon Cooper will remain in the TLG business as Joint Managing Directors and will continue to use their expertise to grow TLG as part of the larger group.
The acquisition comes following investment from BGF, the independent company established to help the UK’s growing businesses, of £10m in July 2013. BGF’s investment has provided the financial means for targeted acquisitions in the sector alongside the purchase of new state of the art printing presses, which will provide significant additional volume capacity and efficiency improvements to the group.
TLG represents the first acquisition that York Mailing has made using BGF capital.
Chris Ingram, Chief Executive Officer of York Mailing, commented:
“We have long admired TLG as a business given its outstanding client base and hybrid digital and web offset printing capabilities. It is a natural fit within the York Mailing business and we look forward to being able to offer customers an enhanced range of promotional printing services. This type of deal was a significant undertaking for us a management team and the financial backing and operational support provided by BGF has been invaluable.”
Richard Taylor, BGF, commented:
“This is a fantastic example of BGF’s capital being put to good use; an ambitious management team leading an expanding business but with a desire to grow that bit further and offer customers that bit more. When we started discussions with Chris and Mike prior to our investment, they flagged that this acquisition would be a significant part of the strategy and rationale behind taking equity investment and it is great to see the plan come to fruition.”
John Hornby, owner of TLG added:
“I am delighted that the York Mailing Group of companies has acquired The Lettershop Group and along with Simon and David, I think this is the perfect home for The Lettershop business. I firmly believe that being part of the UK’s most dynamic print provider offers a real opportunity for TLG to extend their leading technology to a broader customer base.”
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.