Vaping firm’s pre-pack acquisition will save 21 jobs

A Bolton vaping company has rescued 21 jobs through an acquisition from administrators.

AQL International, which owns vaping brand AquaVape, concluded the pre-pack deal, for an undisclosed sum, with FRP Advisory for EOS Group, a manufacturer and online retailer of vaping e-liquids and distributor of branded CBD-infused cosmetics.

Ben Stanyon and Ned Ailyan from FRP were appointed joint administrators to the Essex-based group on January 25, 2021.

On appointment, the business and its assets were sold to AQL International. All 21 jobs have been safeguarded and transferred to the acquirer.

The deal was also supported by FRP’s corporate finance team in the East Midlands, who marketed the business prior to administration, led by director Harry Walker.

Established in 2013, EOS Group manufactured and marketed its e-liquid products on both a wholesale and direct-to-consumer basis.

As well as owning e-liquid brand Vapemate, it had diversified into selling CBD-infused cosmetic products and hemp-based teas stocked by retailers including Boots and Holland & Barrett.

The business had experienced a significant decline in its order book over the course of 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic limiting sales of its products in retailers’ physical stores.

This followed a period of significant financial investment in the development of its CBD-infused cosmetics range prior to the pandemic.

Ben Stanyon, director at FRP, said: “Despite having a well-established brand, like many associated with the retail sector, EOS Group had faced significant trading issues over the past 12 months.

“While those challenges ultimately compromised its ability to meet its financial obligations, we’re pleased to have secured a positive future for the business and all of its employees via the sale to AquaVape.”

Mubaraq Patel, managing director of AquaVape, said: “Vapemate has long been recognised as one of the market leaders in British-made e-liquid and vaping products, which will enable us to broaden our product range significantly.

“Moreover, the group behind it has a strong e-commerce platform that will complement our existing sales platforms as we look to build out our presence in the UK market.”