Congleton engineering firm changes hands in multimillion-pound MBO
A Cheshire automation firm, which last year celebrated its 40-year anniversary, has undergone a multimillion-pound management buyout (MBO).
HMK Automation Group, which employs 37 staff across its two sites in Congleton, specialises in delivering automation solutions across a range of industries.
The deal sees control of the business handed to the long-standing management team led by managing director Gary Kitchin, who has been with the company for almost two decades, taking on the role of MD in 2012.
Mr Kitchin said: “In recent years HMK has experienced rapid growth. We’ve seen turnover more than treble and we’ve expanded into the growing robotics market, so this deal represents the next exciting chapter in the journey of HMK and will allow us to expand our operations and further accelerate our growth strategy.
“Between us, the management team have clocked up more than 60 years’ service with the company, so our customers can be assured that HMK is in safe hands.
“Automation is a booming industry and we pride ourselves on not only delivering market-leading products, but also on providing an unrivalled level of expertise to our customers to enable them to be successful, so we look forward to continuing to build on that success.”
HMK was established in 1979 and is now the largest independent motion control supplier in the UK, supplying innovative products alongside engineering expertise to deliver success to customers across a range of sectors from automotive to pharmaceutical.
In 2017, HMK expanded into the robotics sector, supplying collaborative robots – or Cobots – which are the next generation of robotic technology in the workplace, designed to work alongside people, making automation easier than ever before.
For more than 25 years HMK has partnered with tech giant Siemens, supplying their market-leading products to HMK’s UK customer base.
Mr Kitchin added: “Siemens is undisputedly the leading name in technological innovation, and our focus now will be on continuing to strengthen our partnership with Siemens to deliver their world-class technology to our customers, alongside the expert knowledge of the HMK workforce.”
The four-strong management team, which also includes technical director Nick Calow, sales director Patrick Tongs and finance director Andrea Stafford, take over the helm from former chief executive Carl Krajewski.
Mr Krajewski is the son of company founders Heather and Mark Krajewski, and he will continue as a non-executive director of the business.
He said: “I am delighted to pass the HMK baton on to our experienced management team, and I look forward to the next generation of innovation, development and growth.”
SAS Daniels Solicitors, based in Congleton, provided legal advice on the buyout.
Partner Paul Tyrer said: “Typically a deal of this size and complexity would have been serviced out of Manchester or Birmingham.
“The experience and capability of our corporate team means that we were able to lead this transaction out of our Congleton office.
“We are increasingly finding that local business owners are attracted to our partner-led, personal approach available on their own doorstep.”
Natwest provided the funding for the deal while RSM UK provided financial advice.