PPS is a provider of returnable transit packaging solutions. Operating from sites in South Staffordshire and Grimsby, the business moves 25 million trays and pallets a year on behalf of its customers. It offers delivery, collection, asset tracking and hygienic washing of plastic pallets and trays to customers in the fresh produce, industrial, office moves and automotive sectors.
PPS received a £4.9m growth capital investment from BGF in July 2015. Our investment helped fund the acquisition of Alison Handling Services, the UK’s largest independent stockist of returnable plastic packaging. Headquartered in Kirkham near Preston, Alison Handling Servicesis the largest independent stockist of new and used plastic boxes, containers and trays in the UK. The acquisition is allowing PPS to expand its current services and product range so that customers have access to a full range of packaging solutions and load carrying equipment.
BGF invested £7.5m in flexible van hire company, LCV Hire Solutions Ltd, which trades under the Reflex brand (“Reflex”), to support the continued expansion of its fleet of light-commercial vehicles and fleet cars in conjunction with the provision of industry-leading customer service.
From its base in Loughborough in the East Midlands, Reflex provides its corporate customers with national, round the clock services. Reflex also offers a range of duty of care products, marketed under the ‘Flexi’ brand, including tracking systems, cameras and driver safety products. The company currently has 3,500 vehicles in its fleet and aims to grow this to 10,000 over the next five years.
Reflex was acquired in 2012 by the Waring Family and is led by Executive Chairman Oliver Waring who, with Managing Director Charles Hart, has managed the business through a period of significant growth. Both Waring and Hart have many years of experience in the light commercial vehicle sector having been key people in the building of Northgate plc to become market leader in the flexible rental sector.
Stewart Oades was appointed as a Non-Executive Director and joins existing Non-Executive Director Tony Trahar, former CEO of Anglo American plc. Oades brings extensive experience in logistics and fleet management having served on the main board of Exel and as former group chief executive of Christian Salvesen. Ian Downing, an investor at BGF, joined the Board as part of the investment.
BGF invested £2.9m in Walsall-based Brownhills Investments in March 2015 to support the growth aspirations of its principle subsidiary Brownhills Glass with the acquisition of Durham-based Peterlee Glass, helping to extend its presence into the North-east.
Brownhills Investments was formed in 2012 following a buyout of Brownhills Glass, a name well known in the Midlands since 1977. Brownhills Investments is run by Executive Chairman Nick Harrison, Mark Harrison and Tim Price. Nick is the former group marketing and business development director of Fenner PLC and managing director of Fenner Dunlop. Brownhills’ specialises in bespoke glass processing according to the specifications of architects, builders, interior designers and private home owners in addition to providing glass merchanting services to independent DGU manufacturers.
Peterlee Glass, also set up in the late 1970s, has become one of the North’s leading processed glass suppliers and manufacturers, with a strong reputation for quality and service having worked on projects including Fenwicks of Newcastle, The Sage Gateshead and The British Museum.
Brownhills Investments now has operations in four locations across the UK, meaning it can offer a local service to customers with national requirements. In May 2013, the business started Wiltshire-based Corsham Glass Centre, and teamed up with Chelverton Asset Management in April 2014 to buy Crawley-based Tufwell Glass, whose recent projects have included London’s Shard and the Olympic Park.
Midlands based family cycling business partners with BGF
– £2.8m invested to expand Rutland Cycling’s estate of destination stores and e-commerce capability –
In March 2014, BGF continued to support the leisure sector when it invested in one of the UK’s leading independent cycle retailers, Rutland Cycling.
BGF invested £2.8m of growth capital in Rutland, a family owned business that is based in the East Midlands.
The investment will fund the refurbishment and extension of Rutland Cycling’s existing estate of stores; as well as its national expansion, with four new outlets set to open in prominent UK leisure and tourist destinations over the next 4 years. The investment will also enable the business to develop its e-commerce capabilities, including its website www.rutlandcycling.com.
In addition to providing growth capital, BGF introduced the business to Keith Pacey and Keith Fleming who joined the board as non-executive Chairman and non-executive Director respectively. Pacey is the founder, and former CEO and Chairman of Maplin Electronics and has also held a number of NXC seats including at Mountain Warehouse, and LBM Direct Marketing Fleming is the former Finance and Strategy Director at B&Q plc, former CEO at Woolworths Group plc and former CFO of Blacks Leisure Group plc. Tim Whittard, Investment Director at BGF also joined the company’s board.
Rutland Cycling is led by Paul Archer and David Middlemiss who took control of the business in 2013, but have a long history in a business that was originally founded in 1981 by Paul’s parents, Dave and Ann Archer.
Rutland Cycling sells and hires premium cycling products from its four stores in the Midlands and via its website; and is a preferred retailer for the UK’s three best selling cycle brands, Giant, Trek and Specialized. It has been named Independent Cycle Retailer of the Year for three of the last four years and its website consistently ranks among the UK’s top 10 online cycling retailers. The business currently turns over approximately £10m each year.
Rutland Cycling’s retail outlets, which include one of Britain’s biggest bike shops, are located in leisure destinations in Lincolnshire (Rutland), Cambridgeshire (Grafham Water) and Northamptonshire (Fineshade Wood), all of which benefit from extensive cycle trails and high footfall. In addition to retailing and hiring premium products, Rutland Cycling also offers workshop and test ride facilities so that customers can have their bikes set up, adjusted and serviced in store or can try out the product range on relevant terrain.
David Middlemiss, Managing Director at Rutland, reflected that:
“We are extremely pleased to be opening a new chapter, one that will bring exciting developments for our customers and our people. Our vision is to be Britain’s best cycling destination, and our staff have worked incredibly hard over the last year to be recognised as both the UK’s best Independent Bike Retailer and Women’s Independent Bike retailer of the year in recent months.
“Working with BGF now allows Rutland Cycling to realise the ambition we have to take a unique model, rooted in a passion for cycling and customer service, and inspire more people to own and ride a bike. This is excellent news for everyone associated with our business.”
Tim Whittard, Investment Director at BGF who joined the board of Rutland Cycling, commented:
“Rutland Cycling is a business with a thirty year heritage that has developed a strong brand and fantastic relationships with the UK’s best selling bike companies. With the rising popularity in cycling, has come high levels of competition from online retailers in this space and Rutland’s combined bricks and mortar and e-commerce strategy and its differentiated customer offering has enabled it to hold its own in this competitive market.
“Our investment marks the start of a partnership with the company and we look forward to working with the management team, Keith Pacey and Keith Fleming to take a successful well established model and expand it across wider geographies and to reinforce the business’ place in the cycling retail market.”