East Midlands advisers tap into cross-border deal

The East Midlands office of FRP Advisory has advised on a cross-border deal involving two firms in the kitchen and bathroom fittings sector.

Scandinavian-based FM Mattsson Mora Group AB, supplier of kitchen and bathroom taps, has agreed the acquisition of Northern Ireland’s Aqualla Brassware.

Based in Newtownards, Northern Ireland, Aqualla is a supplier to bathroom showrooms and plumbing trade counters in the UK and Republic of Ireland. In 2020, the business grew by more than 30%, delivering revenues of £7.6m through its 37-strong team.

Aqualla will continue to operate as a free-standing business unit supported by the group, with its current management team – led by founder and managing director, Steven Allaway, and company sales director, Noel Daly – remaining in place, together with its wider senior management team.

Following the deal, Aqualla intends to deliver growth within its existing markets while re-establishing the historic Adamsez bathtubs brand in the UK and Republic of Ireland markets. This is in addition to widening the product ranges offered by both Aqualla and FM Mattsson Mora to their existing and new customers across all of the group’s markets.

Steven Allaway, founder and managing director of Aqualla, said: “When we were approached by the group about joining forces, we were poised for a period of rapid expansion. We had no plans to sell, but the cultural and strategic fit between the two businesses was clear from day one and we believe there could be no better long-term home for Aqualla and our people.

“By working with the group going forward, we are excited to be able to offer new, innovative and unique products from the FM Mattsson, Mora Armatur, Damixa and Hotbath ranges to our existing customers, as well as take advantage of the group’s in-house design and manufacturing capability to further extend our own capabilities.”

Fredrik Skarp, FM Mattsson Mora CEO, said: “The acquisition of Aqualla is a very clear and exciting step in our growth strategy and establishes us in the UK and Ireland which is one of the largest bathroom markets in Europe. At the same time, we are taking a historic step by expanding our product portfolio beyond taps. I have been extremely impressed by the strength of Aqualla’s customer focus and dedicated employees so am very much looking forward to continuing the journey with them as part of the group.”

FM Mattsson Mora Group was advised on the acquisition by the East Midlands office of FRP, led by Harry Walker. Legal advice was provided by TLT in Belfast, led by Andrew Jennings, with financial and tax due diligence provided by Grant Thornton Ireland, led by Charlie Kerlin, and commercial due diligence provided by RP Advisory, led by Geoff Rampton.

Harry Walker, corporate finance director at FRP, said: “From our first meeting with the team at Aqualla just a few months ago, the cultural and strategic fit between the businesses was obvious to us. We are excited to now have the opportunity to watch Aqualla to go from strength to strength in the UK and Republic of Ireland markets as part of the FM Mattsson Mora Group. We are delighted to have played our part in bringing the two parties together and to have added another successful deal to our growing list in this sector.”

The shareholders of Aqualla were advised by a legal team from McDonnell’s led by Vicky Dummigan.