Private equity investor backs school uniform business Trutex

Trutex, making school uniforms for 150 years

UK private equity fund Elaghmore has acquired a further 42% stake in Lancashire based school uniform manufacturer and distributor Trutex.

One of the UK’s oldest and well known, quality school wear producers, Trutex has also been refinanced in a new deal with Aurelius to the tune of £18.5m.

Alongside the stake in the business, Elaghmore is also investing £2.5m of new equity into the business, which has a 150-year history of supplying school uniforms. 

Elaghmore’s founders Andy Ducker and David Manning, who sadly died in 2022, were the ultimate owners of Trutex and Elaghmore was an existing shareholder and lender to Trutex dating back to 2010.

The new investment and finance facility will support Trutex’s UK and overseas expansion adding to existing operations in Dubai, with potential a growth in its presence in China and Saudi Arabia.

Trutex was advised by Alvarez & Marsal on the finance facility alongside a legal team from Walker Morris in Leeds.

According to the last set of accounts filed at Companies House, made up to 31 December 2021, Trutex made profits of £1.7m on turnover of £33.3m and had debts of £5m.

In 2021 Trutex invested in two acquisitions, spending £714k on a Middle East venture and £627k on a company called Schoolwear Suppliers.

While the accounts for the year to the end of 2022 are now overdue, according to Elaghmore, Trutex is “a strongly performing, profitable business, with revenue almost doubling to £35 million since 2015”.

The investment and financing will maximise working capital headroom over the course of the school year, supporting the business in building its order book ahead of peak trading periods.

Matthew Easter, group chief executive of Trutex, said: “The investment by Elaghmore and the new finance facility will support our ambitious growth plans. Trutex is a great brand that has performed strongly over recent years, as schools and parents recognise the importance of style and durability when it comes to school uniforms. We are already the market leader in the UK supplying thousands of schools, and there are substantial opportunities to take our heritage and expertise to new international markets in Asia and the Middle East, particularly.”

Trutex’s recent history includes a management buyout led by Matthew Easter in 2015, which provided an exit for private equity investor Endless, who had invested in the company in 2010 as part of a funding package alongside HSBC.

The company, which was established in 1865 as the Clitheroe Shirting Company, has been manufacturing under the Trutex brand since the early 1920s and changed its name to Trutex in 1965.

Elaghmore’s most recent investment comes from Elaghmore Fund 1A which raised a further £40 million from US investors, following an initial £60m at the close of Elaghmore Fund 1 in 2016, and is focused on acquiring small to mid-cap UK companies across multiple sectors. Elaghmore’s investment strategy is to use its executive team’s proven operational skills to deliver significant growth and value creation.

In the Elaghmore portfolio Trutex sits alongside The Clarison Group, comprising four leading companies in the façade industry, Alucraft Limited, Alucraft Systems Limited, Williaam Cox and EAG;  Hexcite, a provider of bespoke immersive experiences for brands and retailers, consisting of Blaze, Concept Group and Cygnia; and TVS Interfleet, a vehicle components business, created from a three-way merger of Elaghmore portfolio companies SB Components, McPhee and Priden. It has since added Wilcox and a new body building division from the add-on of Purpose Bodies.


Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...