Management acquire stake in manufacturer thanks to £8.5m funding deal

Paul Blackaby

One of the region’s oldest manufacturers has completed an £8.5m funding deal.

The management team at James Briggs Limited (JBL), one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of speciality industrial and consumer chemicals, is taking a stake in the business.

JBL which was founded in 1830 and is based in Oldham, announced the new £8.5m funding deal with Close Brothers.

Endless, which has backed the business since 2013, will continue to have a majority stake, whilst management will also take a significant shareholding in the business.

Chief Executive Paul Blackaby said the business, which has been through a major turnaround over the last few years, is now on a firm financial footing with a robust balance sheet and the right capital and equity structures to support growth.

The turnaround in James Briggs’ fortunes is underlined by its financial results for the year to 30 June 2018, which showed EBITDA increasing by 100% to £2.4m on revenues of £45m.

The company, which is one of the largest employers in Oldham with 274 employees, expects its results for 2019 to show further strong traction with revenues passing £50m and EBITDA topping £3m.

Paul Blackaby said the new capital structure and deal with Close Brothers, was an “important milestone as the company enters a new era.”

He said: “We strongly believe that we are now set for the future. Our customers and indeed our valued employees can be confident that we have a healthy, balanced period of sustainable growth ahead of us.

“While it’s impossible to predict precisely what will happen after the UK leaves the EU, this new deal means we can withstand the risks associated with Brexit and that we are prepared for whatever a post-Brexit era Britain might look like.”

Mr Blackaby, who took on the reins of leadership last autumn, said he and the executive team had been preparing diligently and “stress testing” the business to ensure that it could withstand the challenges a disorderly Brexit will bring.

Tom Jack, partner at Endless in Manchester, said: “We are pleased to have supported James Briggs through some difficult times and delighted that the business is in a far better shape now than it has ever been.

“We have built a strong relationship with Paul and the JBL team and look forward to continuing to support the business through the next stage of its long history.”

Jeremy Bolton, head of ABL Sales at Close Brothers in Manchester added: “We are delighted to have supported the management team and Endless with facilities to help fund the refinance, balance sheet reorganisation, and ongoing working requirements of James Briggs, and look forward to working with Paul and the team during the next stage of their growth plans.”

Founded in the North West in 1830 at the height of the industrial revolution, James Briggs has a reputation as a service led, industrial aerosol manufacturer, specialising in the supply of paints and lubricants for retail, consumer and trade markets.  

Partners include leading retailers and North West company Tetrosyl, Europe’s largest manufacturer and supplier of car care products, who distribute James Briggs’ Hycote range of products in the automotive retail market in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Paul Blackaby added: “Having recently taken up the role of chief executive, I’m very proud to be leading James Briggs into a new era.

“The management team have increased their investment in the business and we’re now looking to the future with optimism thanks to the dedication and tenacity of our committed workforce who have been fundamental to the improvement in our performance.”

James Briggs and Endless received valuation advice from SIA led by Mark Driscoll. Legal advice was provided by Squire Patton Boggs led by Graham Ball, Giles Chesher and Matthew Ingram, and tax advice by KPMG led by Steve Heath. Management were advised by Tony Harper at Brabners.

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