Valve supplier acquired by international group

Valves Online

A Plymouth firm which specialises in the supply of valves and controls has been acquired a larger business.

Valves Online, an online supplier of valves and controls, has been acquired by R&G Fluid Power Group in a deal supported by PKF Francis Clark.

Founders Gary and Sharon Hopkinson will remain with Valves Online for an agreed transition period following the sale of the business they established in 2003.

Employing around 10 people, the company supplies customers in more than 30 countries across a wide range of sectors, including renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and brewing.

The company has grown steadily over recent years thanks to innovative online tools such as its valve selector, which enables customers to build a valve from scratch to their own specification, and the launch of 13 industry-specific websites.

In 2019, Valves Online moved into new 6,000 sq ft premises on the outskirts of Plymouth.

The deal is the latest acquisition for Preston-based R&G Fluid Power Group, a group of 30 fluid power companies specialising in industrial, hydraulic and pneumatic products, which was itself acquired by international distribution group Diploma plc in 2022.

Gary Hopkinson, managing director of Valves Online, said: “The acquisition of Valves Online by the R&G Group will benefit both our staff and our customers. It ensures future growth, with more choice and competitive pricing. Being part of the R&G Group allows an even stronger presence in the online valve market.”

Richard Davies, group managing director of R&G Fluid Power Group, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Gary, Sharon and the whole Valves Online team to our group. This acquisition is very exciting for us, an excellent strategic fit which strengthens our online presence and adds technical knowledge and expertise in a key fluid power product group. I would like to thank Gary and Sharon for trusting us with their business and I look forward to working with the Valves Online team.”

A team at PKF Francis Clark advised Gary and Sharon on the sale of their business to R&G.

Dave Armstrong, corporate finance director, said: “As one of the UK’s first valve and control suppliers to exploit the opportunities of ecommerce, Valves Online has established a loyal customer base and an excellent reputation for quality and service. Having built a successful business and achieved substantial year-on-year growth, Gary and Sharon felt the time was right to find new owners to take Valves Online to the next level as they look towards retirement.

“It has been a pleasure to support them over the past two years in preparing the business for sale, identifying potential buyers and running the full sales process, which generated interest from potential buyers in the UK and overseas. From the first meeting, it became apparent that R&G Fluid Power was a very good fit and that Valves Online would be well placed to maximise its potential as part of the group. We wish the team every success.”

PKF Francis Clark’s team also comprised Isaac Moore and Martin Atkins, with tax support from Damian Lannon. Austin Blackburn at Nash & Co provided legal advice to the shareholders.

Gary added: “Having pondered the idea of selling the business for some time, I’m delighted that PKF Francis Clark’s specialist advice has resulted in the right deal for us whilst ensuring that the staff and company, which we have built up over 20 years, will continue to grow and flourish.

“After securing many offers, we decided on R&G Fluid Power Group as the right buyer to push the company in the right direction. I felt that our interests were completely looked after by Dave and Isaac, with support from Martin Atkins and his accounts team, whose sound advice and hard work got the deal over the line. This has given Sharon and me the chance to pursue other interests and would not have been possible without the amazing work of the team at PKF Francis Clark.”

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