BGF invested £3.1m of growth capital in Renal Services, an independent provider of dialysis services to NHS patients.
BGF took a minority stake and a seat on the company’s existing board.
Headquartered in London, Renal Services was founded in 2007, employs 62 staff and is the fourth largest provider of dialysis in the UK. The company currently runs six dialysis centres across the UK, operating 63 dialysis stations and treating approximately 700 permanent and transient patients on behalf of the NHS. Approximately 95% of treatments are delivered to permanent local patients.
The centres, which were designed and built by Renal Services, are located in Grantham, Havant, Launceston, Milford on Sea, Salisbury and Skegness. The company manages all aspects of dialysis care at its centres including clinical, quality control, data collection, diagnostics and maintenance services. It puts patient experience, choice and outcomes at the centre of its service with an on-going track record in exceeding local and national standards as set out by the Department of Health and the Renal Association.
Renal Services treats patients with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), the last stage of chronic kidney disease where patients’ kidneys can no longer sustain life, using Haemodialysis whereby a patient’s blood is filtered and cleaned through a machine external to their body three times a week.
In the UK, as of 2012, there were around 55,000 ESRD patients of which circa 27,000 were treated via HD. This figure has been growing steadily at an annual rate of 4 per cent over the last 17 years.
Renal Services has recently won two new contracts to build and operate three centres with 58 new dialysis stations and BGF’s investment will be used to fund these new centres located in the East Midlands and Northumberland and thereby doubling the size of the company. The investment is providing working capital for Renal to compete for and win additional new contracts to open and run new centres across the UK.
Alongside its equity investment, BGF contributed additional support to the company through the introduction of James Buckley as Non-Executive Chairman. James has an extensive background in the healthcare sector, formerly as CEO of Tunstall Group until 2009 and currently as Chairman of Ark Home Healthcare and Mangar International, and Non-Executive Director of Prism Medical.
Cass Art opens in Scotland
Cass Art, the UK’s leading independent art supplies retailer, has opened its first store in Scotland following BGF’s £3.2m investment to support its nationwide growth. The store is located in the heart of Glasgow, which is internationally recognised as a creative city that has produced many world-acclaimed artists.
Founded in 1984 by CEO Mark Cass, an avid art promoter and entrepreneur, Cass Art strives to encourage as many people as possible to create art, believing that art is a fundamental human need and that art over the centuries has profoundly changed the way we view the world.
Mark Cass is a trustee of the Cass Sculpture Foundation, a British charity devoted to the promotion of 21st British sculpture through public commissions and exhibitions. His family have been involved in art over many generations – his great uncle, Paul Cassirer, was an important art dealer in the 1920s, and was a promoter of the Impressionist movement in Europe.
The new site on Queen Street boasts more than 6,000 square feet, and includes the Art Space that will endeavour to support and celebrate the local artist community through workshops and exhibitions. In preparation for its launch, Cass Art was proud to sponsor this year’s Graduate Degree Show at the Glasgow School of Art – one of Europe’s leading university-level institutions for the visual creative disciplines.
CEO and Founder Mark Cass opened his first shop next to the National Gallery, and Cass Art currently has five shops in London and one in Kingston. Cass Art offers the world’s best art materials at the UK’s best prices. All Cass Art shop staff are artists, giving expert insight and advice on all of its customers’ creative endeavours.
“We are thrilled to be opening in Glasgow”, says Mark Cass, CEO and Founder of Cass Art. “It is a city with a long cultural history, and a thriving art community. We look forward to supporting artists of all ages in Glasgow, whether they are beginners, students, tutors or professionals – to fulfil our mission, ‘Let’s Fill This Nation With Artists’. It is our first step in opening affordable art shops across the country.”
BGF backed the Cass Art team to roll out new stores in major cities across the UK over the next five years and to develop its e-commerce platform (www.cassart.co.uk), which presents a significant opportunity to grow on a national scale.
As well as BGF Investment Director Rory Pope sitting on the board, BGF appointed Stuart Rose, the former Chairman of toy group Hamleys, ex-Managing Director and deputy Chairman of The Body Shop and former Chairman of Agent Provocateur as Non-Executive Chairman through its Talent Network.
Rory Pope, Investment Director for BGF commented:
“Mark Cass and his team have created a truly inspiring business based on an ‘art for all’ passion and they remain committed to encouraging everyone to realise their creative talents. By extending Cass Art’s regional footprint and continuing to offer the world’s leading material at the best prices, they are set to achieve their ambition and BGF is proud to be part of that mission.”
TCT Increases Production Capacity
Thames Card Technology Ltd (Thames), one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of secure and non-secure plastic cards, has responded to market demand for its gift, loyalty and payment card production services with the purchase of two new machines. The ‘best-in-class’ equipment incorporates technologies that deliver the increased capacity required to maintain its position as the go-to provider for the UK plastic card market.
“The purchase of this new machinery is central to our growth plans following December’s investment of £3.2m from independent UK investment firm, BGF,” comments Paul Underwood, Managing Director at Thames. “The exponential growth of the gift and loyalty sectors, the increasing number of banking customers in the developing world and EMV migration in the US is seeing demand for our services grow and these purchases maximise our ability to respond.”
Gift, loyalty and membership card production capacity has been increased by an additional 50% thanks to the Atlantic Zeiser Cardline Versa machine, which offers a high-speed drop on demand (DoD) card personalisation system. It streamlines and expedites the card production process, enabling the data to be encoded and printed onto the card, scratch labels to be attached and camera-automated verification to happen in-line, on a single machine.
Further investment has been made to improve services for the gift, loyalty and banking market with a Kurtz C7000 High-Speed Hologram and Foil Blocking System.
“Not only are we significantly increasing capacity, we are also adding capabilities and improving continuity as these new machines will supplement our existing infrastructure,” concludes Paul. “With increased output we are also investing in a second secure vault to store our Visa and MasterCard products throughout the manufacturing and personalisation process.
“This is an exciting stage in our growth and it is full steam ahead with our growth plan as we strive to improve efficiency and streamline processes which will benefit us and, most importantly, our customers. We look forward to announcing further purchases in due course as part of our plans to develop our share of the banking market.”
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.”
BGF invested £5m growth capital in Plastique, a manufacturer of thermoformed plastic and pulp packaging.
The company designs and manufactures packaging for customers in the personal care, household products, pharmaceutical, food and broader retail markets. Headquartered in Tunbridge Wells, Plastique invested BGF’s capital to build its thermoformed pulp packaging capability and expand its manufacturing facility in Poland. With BGF’s support, Plastique became the first European manufacturer of smooth surfaced thermoformed pulp packaging.
After a period of sustained growth, in February 2015, Plastique was acquired by TEQ, an Illinois-based thermoformed packaging company and subsidiary of NYSE listed ESCO Technologies Inc., for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition by TEQ will enable the Plastique team to continue to develop their product offering and expand sales opportunities into new geographies and sectors. Plastique’s management team will remain in the business to drive the next phase of growth and oversee the integration with TEQ.
BGF pipes £3m into drainage contractor to accelerate growth
In June 2014, BGF announced a growth capital investment of £3m in Flowline Limited, a leading drainage contractor in the South East of England.
The £3m investment for a minority stake in Flowline, enabled the business to acquire Clearaway Drainage Services Limited, provide capital to support organic growth, strengthen the senior management team and train staff to deliver new services and operate in new markets. The acquisition of Clearaway adds expertise in the rail and industrial markets.
Flowline was founded in 1991 by Managing Director Barry Robins and since then, the business has grown revenues to over £8m in the year ending July 2014. The company operates from its head office in Rayleigh, Essex with satellite sites near Reigate, Surrey and South Mimms, Hertfordshire. The Company currently employs 85 staff.
Flowline is a commercial drainage contractor providing CCTV pipeline surveying, high pressure water jetting, gully and catchpit cleaning, waste recycling, liquid waste tankering and road sweeping primarily into the water and highways markets. It currently runs a fleet of 60 vehicles serving customers across London, the Home Counties and nationally when required. Customers include infrastructure owners such as Thames Water and Anglian Water. Clearaway was established in 1994 and is based in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire. The acquisition adds expertise and a strong track record in two new markets; rail and industrial, and skills in two additional technically complex service lines in relining and robotic cutting.
In addition, at the introduction of BGF, Alan Horton, the former CEO of Evander Glazing & Locks, joined the Flowline board as Non-Executive Chairman and Investment Director Rory Pope joined the board as BGF’s representative.
Barry Robins, Managing Director and founder of Flowline, said:
“Having built up a profitable and highly regarded business in the sector, I am convinced that now is the time to take advantage of a capital injection and combine it with our experience to grow the business faster and further. The investment will allow us to build our fleet and equipment, make value enhancing acquisitions and recruit additional experience into the business. I look forward to working with BGF as a partner to achieve these goals.”
BGF Investment Director, Rory Pope, said:
“This is an exciting opportunity to back a well-established business operating in a robust sector. Flowline has a clear growth strategy based on continuing to win new contracts for its existing services, and expansion into new markets where substantial opportunities exist such as rail and industrial, supported by the strategic acquisition of Clearaway. We are looking forward to partnering with Barry and the management team to drive the business forward and capitalise on the opportunities that exist for them.”