BROADBAND SATELLITE SERVICES
BGF invested £6.3m in satellite and telecommunications investment company, Broadband Satellite Services Ltd (BSS). BSS is using the investment to accelerate its long-term growth strategy, further strengthening its position as a top tier distributor of satellite communications services to those requiring communications in remote environments where mainstream terrestrial networks are not available.
Through its wholly owned companies Satcom Global and AND Group, BSS supplies services to military, maritime, aeronautical and offshore customers as well as media and aid agencies across the world. It is a key global distribution partner for major Satellite Network Operators (SNOs) Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya. In addition, BSS provides value-added services for customers including installation and technical support as well as a suite of in-house developed solutions to enhance the application of satellite services in different sectors.
BSS was formed in 2012 through the acquisition of Satcom Group and AND Group, and is now one of the world’s largest mobile satellite communications providers. The Group will continue to identify high-growth acquisition and investment opportunities in the Mobile Satellite Services market to further strengthen BSS’s offering.
Headquartered in Newcastle, BSS has offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Phoenix, Brisbane, Perth, Athens and Moscow and employs more than 200 people globally.
Follow-on investment for Boost
BGF provided Boost Juice Bars UK (Boost) with follow on funding in December 2014 after a continued period of growth. BGF’s investment in the company now stands at £3.9m, up from the £2.5m committed in December 2012.
The number of Boost stores in the UK has more than doubled from 10 to 25 with sales approaching £10m over the last 18 months. New flagship stores have launched in London, Newcastle, Brighton and Birmingham along with other major cities across the UK. The original 10 stores – including Manchester’s Trafford Centre and Meadowhall Sheffield – continue to show very strong like for like sales growth, as they approach nearly eight years of trading and as the “well-being” sector continues to find favour among food and beverage consumers. Manchester Trafford Centre now hosts two Boost Juice Bars and remains the busiest location for the company across its global footprint of 350 stores in 16 countries.
The company behind Boost, Manchester-based TD4 (to die for) Brands, will use the follow-on capital to accelerate the roll-out, with locations identified for another 20 stores over two years.
Co-founders, Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan, retained their existing shareholding while their long standing non-executive chairman Bill Holroyd, one of the original backers and current non-executive at AO.com, increased his shareholding in the company. BGF, which provides long-term and patient capital as well as access to a network of support for growing businesses, remained a minority shareholder.
Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan bought the exclusive rights to operate the Boost business in the UK and the Republic of Ireland in 2006, shortly after selling their original business Millies Cookies to Compass PLC.
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.
NATIONWIDE WINDOW CLEANING
BGF has invested £3m of growth capital in Nationwide Window Cleaning (NWC), a leading provider of window cleaning and associated services.
NWC directly employs and centrally manages 200 staff from around the UK, providing complex and simple cleaning services to universities, hospitals, large retailers and other commercial businesses. Set up in 2009 by Managing Director Thornton Tasker, the company has an annual turnover approaching £10m and manages several major window cleaning contracts including with Royal Bank of Scotland, ASDA and the British Museum. NWC is headquartered in Harrogate, Yorkshire.
The £3m investment will allow the company to expand its fleet and equipment, and hire new staff within its abseiling and specialist cleaning divisions where the company continues to experience growing demand. It plans to use part of the capital investment to increase its workforce in these business areas, with the aim of achieving a fivefold growth in revenue over the next seven years.
Stuart Lees, Managing Director at Altium Capital and former Chief Executive of Latium Group, a manufacturer and retailer of windows, has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman at NWC. Neil Inskip, Senior Investment Manager at BGF joins the board of the company.
Thornton Tasker, Managing Director, NWC commented:
“The NWC approach is to recruit skilled and committed employees, who we can offer ongoing training and development with excellent potential for career progression, actively promoting from within. We have committed to the government apprentice scheme nurturing new talent who can support the business going forward, resulting in higher productivity, quality of work, staff retention and employee satisfaction.
“NWC is a truly national service provider offering a managed quality service with high visibility through leading edge IT. This is the right time to expand. Demand for our range of national specialist services continues to gain momentum and we are in a strong position to grow this part of the business. We are delighted to be partnering with BGF. In addition to the investment, we value the insight and experience of its investment team as well as our newly appointed Chairman, Stuart Lees.”
Neil Inskip, Senior Investment Manager, BGF commented:
“We’ve tracked NWC over the past two years and are impressed by its progress and development under the leadership of Thornton Tasker. There is an extremely strong management team in place, with a clear business strategy and sound operating model.
“In a relatively short amount of time, NWC has become an industry leader in a market with significant opportunities, making the business well placed to build on the number of existing contracts it manages.”
Andy Gregory, Regional Director, North of England & Northern Ireland, BGF commented:
“This is the 63rd growth capital investment made by BGF in UK companies, and the 12th investment made in companies headquartered in the north of England. Our aim is to work with enterprises that span a diverse range of industry sectors, and as such, we are delighted to be working with NWC.”
BGF builds investment record in improving construction sector with £2.5m provided to leading specialist interiors subcontractor
In June 2014, BGF made its first investment in a South Yorkshire based business with £2.5m provided to leading specialist interiors subcontractor Horbury Group. At the point in time, BGF had invested c. £30m in the county to date via its Leeds and Manchester based local investment teams.
This was also the third investment that BGF had made in businesses growing in the wake of an improving construction market. In May 2014, BGF invested £10m of growth capital in TCL Holdings Ltd, an external property services business; and in 2012, it backed high specification scaffolding services specialist, SHS Integrated Services with £5.4m of growth capital.
Headquartered in Rotherham, Horbury Group was founded in 1993 by current Group Managing Director Trevor Wragg as a specialist subcontractor for the construction industry. It comprises three principle subsidiaries; Horbury Building Systems, Titan Interior Solutions, and MWS Joinery, and has a combined turnover in excess of £50m and a workforce of 800 people. Headquartered in Rotherham, Yorkshire, Horbury Group also has offices in London and South Wales.
The company provides internal fit out services including partitioning, ceilings, joinery and flooring to major construction companies including Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Kier, and Shepherd Construction. It has successfully installed a range of products and internal structures to public and private buildings that include student accommodation, apartment, hotels, schools, hospitals and major retail and leisure developments. Projects include the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham; Liverpool Library; the Business School at Manchester Metropolitan University, Reading Railway Station; and Park Hotel in Nottingham.
With the UK construction market showing positive signs of growth, BGF’s investment will enable Horbury to tender for larger, and a greater quantity of, projects. As a result of the investment, the company expects to significantly increase its workforce in the year ahead.
Trevor Wragg, founder and Group Managing Director of Horbury, commented:
“This is great news for the company and everyone associated with it. This funding means that we can act on growth opportunities that we have identified as part of a recent strategic review of our business and market. Our core trades are seeing demand as the construction industry is returning to growth. Last year we opened two new offices in the South West and in Central London primarily to improve our service to clients in these areas. This investment has paid off, and contributed to the strong growth we achieved over the last 2 years throughout England and Wales. It’s great to know that the enthusiasm and confidence we have for the business and the future is shared by our backers.”
Andy Gregory, BGF’s Regional Director for the North of England, commented:
“Horbury Group is one of a small number of businesses in its sector with the size and scale needed to operate nationally; and as the recovery of the construction industry continues, it is well placed to take advantage of a growing pipeline of work.
“It is one of several businesses that we have backed which are acting on exciting growth opportunities generated by an improving UK construction sector. This is exactly where BGF’s growth capital is intended to help – enabling businesses to capitalise on opportunities that they might otherwise be unable to take full advantage of.”
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.