SME Loans fund backs buy-out at water treatment firm

A family-run water treatment company has been acquired by the founder’s daughter in a seven-figure deal backed by Mercia’s SME Loans fund.

The buy-out of Yorkshire-based Excel Water gives control of the business to Emma Armitage, the current managing director, and allows for the partial retirement of her brother Darren Field.

Armitage now aims to increase turnover by 20% in the year ahead and create four new jobs as the company targets growth resulting from opportunities including water deregulation.

Excel Water, which is based in Allerton Bywater, manufactures and installs commercial water treatment systems for businesses throughout the country – typically those producing goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, automotive and cleaning products which require a higher quality of water for production purposes.

It is one of the few companies of its type that can provide a full range of services from initial water analysis and borehole treatment to servicing and maintenance of plant.

Excel Water was established in 1992 by Brian Field who had previously worked in the water industry.

It currently employs nine staff including Darren’s son James Field. Armitage joined the company in 2004 after working in the waste management sector and has been managing director since 2014.

She said: “I am proud to be taking over the family business and plan to make the most of the opportunities ahead.

“The deregulation of the water industry in recent years has given companies greater control over their water supply, enabling them to save on their utility bills.

“At the same time there is greater focus on saving water for environmental reasons. I look forward to working with our loyal team to take the firm to the next stage of its development.”

Andy Heaton, of Mercia, added: “Emma is a very impressive leader who has built a strong team. We are pleased to be able to back the buy-out of this successful family business in a deal that will help secure its future and the jobs of its staff, and position it for future growth.”

Paul Grace of YBFA provided fundraising advice to the company.

He said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with Emma and structure the funding for the management buy-out.

“Since we first met, her passion and enthusiasm has shone through, and I have full confidence the business will go from strength to strength.

“Mercia demonstrated a thorough understanding of the business and provided a unique funding structure which enabled the buy-out to take place while allowing sufficient cash to be reinvested for future growth.”

Excel Water was advised by a team from Clarion, including Alex Cooper and Amy Buttrick.

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