Manufacturer cleans up with acquisition of rival firm

A manufacturing company is setting its sights on expansion after calling on Finance For Enterprise to scale production of microbiological cleaning products, following the acquisition of one of its competitors.

Huddersfield-based Biobax produces environmentally friendly products including sustainably sourced paper straws, hand sanitisers and cutting-edge cleaning products, all of which are manufactured at its Skelmanthorpe Technology Park HQ.

Having pioneered a range of microbiological cleaning products, company founders Dominic Barnes and Kate Pawson began exploring ways of scaling the business.

They spotted an opportunity to acquire Cheshire-based Aqua Air – founded by Barry Bladon – which had devoted the past 20 years to bringing innovative cleaning products to the market.

Barnes and Pawson felt the acquisition could help Biobax enter new markets, while increasing profitability within Aqua Air’s product range by bringing manufacturing in-house.

Hentons Corporate Finance introduced Biobax to Finance For Enterprise. Working with business lending manager Jeremy Meadowcroft, Biobax secured a £150,000 loan from Finance For Enterprise, delivered through the Recovery Loan Scheme.

Thanks to this funding, Biobax was able to complete the acquisition, creating four new jobs. It is now aiming to increase turnover to £2m within the next three years.

Barnes said: “Microbiological cleaners harness friendly bacteria to break down organic matter quickly and efficiently.

“They offer a safe alternative to traditional cleaning products that can be used in high-risk environments such as schools and care homes. Barry has devoted much of his life to developing innovative cleaning solutions and bringing them to market. It’s an ethos we share.

“Acquiring Aqua Air is a golden opportunity for Biobax, one which will present new opportunities for both businesses.”

Harry Bushell, corporate finance executive, Hentons Corporate Finance, said: “We supported Kate and Dominic through the acquisition process of Aqua Air from negotiating the transaction, assisting with fundraising, through to legal completion.

“Biobax already offer a great selection of microbiological cleaning products and the acquisition of Aqua Air was a great strategic fit allowing them to complete the manufacture in-house, improving profitability and leading to overall growth of the combined business.”

Samantha Sellars, head of legal at Hentons Corporate Finance, said: “We are pleased to have supported Dominic and Kate on their acquisition. As a team we thrive on delivering for our clients, especially when we are involved throughout the whole process.”

Meadowcroft said: “Through the acquisition of Aqua Air, Biobax spotted the potential to not only increase their market share, but improve the manufacturing process by bringing production in house.

“The Recovery Loan Scheme was developed to help businesses impacted by the pandemic to adapt and respond to the challenges they faced, and I felt the company was well suited to benefit from the scheme.

“With funds in place, the deal was able to be concluded quickly, allowing Biobax to focus upon continuing to bring new, innovative products to market.”