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Counterplas continues injecting vigour into plastic injection

Counterplas, has long been one of the Midland’s and UK’s leading technical, plastic injection moulder operators, who has over many years, built a strong and enviable reputation in its industry for innovation and excellence. Counterplas has not only continued to expand its product range, but it has bolstered its expansion by acquisition. Paul Isherwood, managing director of Counterplas, has been at its helm enabling the company to stay ahead of its competitor’s through the manufacture and design of new products, using the latest energy efficient machines for plastic injection moulding. Mr Isherwood has now negotiated Counterplas acquisitions of a leading competitor. Paul Isherwood said “I have, for a long time, had respect for Showpla Plastics and how it operates as a specialist plastic injection moulder within the Midlands. For me, it just seemed that the Counterplas wrapper around Showpla Plastics would neatly encapsulate the expansion of Counterplas, in one fell swoop. Thereby creating a showcase plastic moulding business, which would become the benchmark for quality and innovation within the plastic injection moulding industry.” Pete Simpson (Partner of Bache Brown Accountants), who has long been the go-to business advisor for Paul Isherwood and Counterplas said that “I have known and worked with Paul for a long time, and so I have a good understanding of how he conducts his business. Therefore, Paul would only look to expand Counterplas through an acquisition where there is a true synergy. That is why the incorporation of the Showpla business within Counterplas will continue to strengthen what is already a formidable business”. Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers (HH) has acted for Counterplas for a number of years as its corporate counsel, Colin Rodrigues (Partner at HH), said “with the event horizon of Brexit fast approaching, I have always been a strong advocate of investment as a way to improve productivity. Knowing the business of Counterplas and Showpla and the industry in which they operate, investment is the key to productivity and as such, the combination of the two businesses will create a stronger and more highly efficient business.”

The Link to Zinc

The NFM Group is one of the Europe’s major zinc alloy producers and specialises in the manufacturer and distribution of prime grade zinc alloys (“NFM”). NFM has over the years established a reputation as a serious and reliable partner in the buying and trading of non-ferrous metals and related by-products, scrap and residues. NFM stepped into the UK market and purchased Brock Metal who also supply primary zinc alloys across Europe even though they are based in Cannock. The purchase of Brock Metal was from Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant (“CZP”). CZP are the largest producer of zinc and zinc alloys in Russia. Claude Bever, Managing Director of NFM, said “this acquisition demonstrates NFM’s focus on further growing the profitability of its core niche zinc alloys business. Brock Metal’s know-how and experience complements our existing activities. It will allow us to position NFM for new business opportunities and to enhance customer relationships in a global manner.” NFM was assisted by Colin Rodrigues of Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers and David Webb of Edwards Accountants. Hawkins Hatton were responsible for assisting in the negotiation and completion of the transaction in legal terms, whilst Edwards Accountants ensured that all financial matters were properly considered. Colin Rodrigues said “having worked with NFM previously, I know that it prides itself in the pursuance of excellence which is its USP. Thus, in a constantly changing world with Brexit the more flexibility a business can have will simply translate to the fact that it can more easily adapt to this change in conditions in order to meet the needs of the market.”

Central Extrusions

Rob Thorpe, who has vast experience of plastic extrusions and is a founder of a successful plastics business known as Cooga based in Telford, has now branched out by taking over Central Extrusions, who as its name suggests is based in the heart of the Black Country. Central Extrusions is already in good shape given that it has over 20 years knowledge and expertise in the manufacture of flexible extrusions, and it has a reputation for supplying high quality glazing gaskets Nationwide. That is why Rob focused on Central Extrusions as he felt he could continue to the expansion of the company building on the existing reputation by using his own skill sets. Rob was assisted by Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers who undertook the negotiation and completion of the transaction on his behalf. Hawkins Hatton also assisted HSBC, who assisted with funding the deal. Colin Rodrigues from Hawkins Hatton said “having worked with Rob and seeing his wealth of experience within the plastic sector, I know that he will ensure that the growth of Central Extrusions will continue on the upward trajectory.” Rob Thorpe said “I am privileged to have the opportunity to oversee the next phase of Central Extrusions’ expansion in order to ensure that it becomes the leading national firm within the UK for plastic extrusions.”

What A Catch

Rollins Inc. is a premier global consumer and commercial services company which has an international footprint stretching more than 700 locations from the United States, Canada, Central America, South America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, Africa, Mexico, and Australia. Rollins Inc. specialise in pest control and provides essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects to more than two million customers. Rollins Inc. started its expansion process within the UK by purchasing Safeguard Pest Control based in London and the South East. Within the same week Rollins Inc. also acquired two other businesses namely Ames Group, based in the Midlands, and Kestrel Pest Control, based in Hampshire. Steven Leavitt, the President of Emerging Opportunities of Rollins Inc. spearheaded the purchase of Ames and Kestrel with the assistance Matthew Whiting, who is the Director of Acquisitions. They said that having acquired Safeguard into the Rollins Inc. family, it was a pleasure to continue the expansion by the introduction of Alan Read (director and founder of Ames) and Richard Borlase (director and founder of Kestrel). Alan Read said “I created the Ames Group from scratch and gave it my all and as such, the Rollins Inc. family was a natural choice for me when I decided I wanted to continue to grow my business but with the support of a large organisation.” Richard Borlase said “I found it remarkable that once Rollins Inc. decided to take over my business we completed within days rather than weeks. It is amazing how when you meet an organisation as determined as Rollins Inc. that it can achieve what may seem impossible.” Alan Read (Ames Group) and Richard Borlase (Kestrel) both separately and independently engaged Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers to manage their respective transactions simultaneously. Hawkins Hatton delivered consecutive completions within days of each other. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton) said “it is not very often that you get consecutive transactions to the same entity but having met Rollins Inc. I can see they will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years within the UK Pest Control Industry.”

Cee-Norm Have Plugged into Succession

Cee-Norm UK Limited (Cee-Norm) was founded by Mr Tony Potts and his wife Rosemary Potts. Cee-Norm is the sole UK distributor of Bals industrial plugs and sockets, and is one of the UK leaders in this market. Cee-Norm prides itself on supplying valued products of a high standard to its customers. Cee-Norm has recently started a new chapter in its 25 year long journey, as one of its existing shareholder Bals Elektrotechnik GmBH (Bals) has acquired further shares in the company from Mrs Rosemary Potts, becoming the majority shareholder, with a view to taking over all of the shares in the not too distant future. Bals is an independent family business based in Germany which produces industrial plug-in devices and plug-in systems for the global market, as well as setting new technical standards. Bals products are highly valued worldwide, and Cee-Norm is just one of its many distributors around the globe. Mr and Mrs Potts have continued to build a strong and successful relationship with Bals for many years, so it was natural for them to facilitate Bals’ acquisition of the majority shareholding. Tony Potts, Managing Director and shareholder of Ceenorm, said: “having worked in this industry for more years than I care to mention I can say, based on my experience, that this business will continue to grow and I wish Bals every continued success”. Wolfgang Bals, CEO of Bals, said “running a family owned business means a lot to me, and knowing that Tony and Rosemary have trusted my group with the stewardship of their business demonstrates the faith they have in our relationship and together we will continue to make Ceenorm the success story that it is today”. Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers helped to negotiate the transaction with Brian Bates of Harvey Telford & Bates Chartered Accountants, who have been longstanding advisors to Ceenorm, along with HSBC Bank Plc who have helped to support and fund previous acquisitions. Colin Rodrigues, Partner at Hawkins Hatton Solicitors, said “I have worked with Tony and Rosemary for a number of years and I have seen the company go from strength to strength. Knowing that there is going to be continuity for Ceenorm’s customers and suppliers, will not only mean it is business as usual, but their trusted business partnership will continue as usual”. Brian Bates, Accountant, said “when dealing with succession issues for clients it is not all about numbers, it is about relationships. When there is a strong business relationship, inevitably things are easier to negotiate”. Jon Forster, Relationship Director at HSBC, said “Ceenorm has been a customer of HSBC for many years and it has been rewarding to know that the bank’s support has helped Tony and Rosemary fulfil their business goals”.

X-Ray Specs

Wolverson X-Ray (“Wolverson”) has been established for 85 years and is the leading independent supplier of innovative imaging equipment and associated healthcare products. Wolverson has always prided itself on providing quality and value to the NHS and private health care consortia through the supply of technically advanced imaging products. In order to help Wolverson continue to keep ahead of business demands and remain as the market leader in this sector, the shareholders of Wolverson proceeded with a management buy in (“MBI”). The MBI was led by Andrew Hodgetts along with Graham Haslam, Frank Cousins and Gurpal Matharu, who are now the new directors and shareholders of Wolverson, with their X-Ray specs on they knew the future prospects for the business. Andrew Hodgetts commented that “when you have a business like Wolverson, which has been going as long as 85 years, you do not suddenly become the new business owner, instead you are the custodian of the business for the next generation and as such, it is our duty to help maintain the well-being of Wolverson so it will continue for another 85 years.” Graham Haslam commented “it is not just how long the business has been going, but all about innovation and development and the directors and I are fully committed to continue to help innovate and develop Wolverson for the benefit of all Wolverson customers and employees.” In order to fund the MBI, Wolverson obtained funding from HSBC and were assisted by Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers Limited. Debbie Harper (Area Director, Business Banking at HSBC) said: “Funding for the future is a core part of what we do at HSBC and Paul Dawson worked hard to structure a deal for the MBI team. We look forward to working with Wolverson as the team continues to build the business for future generations.” Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers) stated “as with any corporate transaction, the key to success is to ensure that the instructions from the clients are fully reflected within the legal documentation. A lot of time can be spent arguing over clauses when in reality, the practical and commercial approach soon distils any issues within a contract so they can be agreed between principals.” The directors of Wolverson particularly recognised the input of the outgoing directors, Peter Davies and David Young, stating that “Peter and David have been fantastic role models to us as demonstrated by the growth of the business during competitive times in the healthcare business. We will always be grateful for their achievements and will aim to continue to progress the business to these high standards.”

Drive In Keeps On Rolling Forward

Drive In Autocentres (Drive In) has long been known for MOT testing and tyre servicing within the Black Country. For over 25 years it has operated from its depots in Blackheath and Halesowen. Barclays, a keen supporter of SME Businesses in the region, assisted Drive In by funding its acquisition of the premises in Blackheath. Drive In used Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers to assist it through the legal process and to negotiate all commercial aspects of the acquisition. Trevor Kelleher, Managing Director of Drive In, said ‘Having secured the Blackheath premises it means we will now have an even more secure base to continue expanding and providing a service second to none within MOT testing and tyre servicing within the Black Country’. Chris Perrins, Business Manager at Barclays Bank, said ‘It is always good to see a SME business continue to thrive and with the ever-expanding number of cars on the road, it is nice to know that we have customers who do their best to service the needs of the general public’. Colin Rodrigues, Partner at Hawkins Hatton, said ‘It takes a lot of insight to look forward in any business and continue to grow. In these times of low interest rates, it makes commercial sense to borrow monies to secure commercial property’.

Scaffolding Reaching New Heights

Metal Spraying (UK) Limited (“Metal Spraying”) is the Midlands leading manufacturer and supplier of construction equipment, based in Wolverhampton, and supplies two of the UK’s main scaffolding companies. Metal Spraying has always prided itself on providing unparalleled levels of service enabling it to supply its customers with bespoke products. Metal Spraying has recently acquired Scaffolding & Construction Products Limited (“SCP”) from Alumasc Group plc (“Alumasc”) in order to continue to expand its national foot print. SCP has established itself as a leader in its field as a supplier of non-mechanical construction equipment both in the UK and internationally. This deal created one of the largest construction product suppliers in the UK with a group turnover in excess of £20 million. The deal was funded by HSBC and arranged by Partho Bose, Senior Relationship Manager. HSBC Area Director for Business Banking in the Midlands, Steve Peart, said: ‘HSBC has a £10bn fund to support SMEs in the UK and we are committed to helping British businesses like Metal Spraying take the next step in their business ventures. We look forward to our continued work with Metal Spraying and to seeing the business grow over the coming years.’ Legal support was provided by Hawkins Hatton and Colin Rodrigues (Partner) said: ‘on the face of it, a deal of this kind looks simple, however it is always challenging to ensure that the commercial negotiations fully address the legal risks involved for both parties. I was pleased that we covered both of these bases and still delivered the deal within a very tight timeline for both the bank and Metal Spraying’. Ranjit Dale of Metal Spraying said: ‘This deal will generate additional business and employment opportunities within the Wolverhampton area, which is extremely important to a local company such as ours. This demonstrates why the Midlands is the beating heart of UK manufacturing’.

Casting a New Future

Investacast Limited is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of investment castings with over 50 years’ experience in the sector, covering industries such as aerospace, automotive, marine, communications, military, oil and gas and electronics. Investacast’s approach is one of a holistic service from design, research and development to final production and stock holding. In order to service its clients, Investacast operates from its Ilfracombe-based foundry and has supply chain partnerships throughout Asia, providing ISO9001 accreditation and guaranteeing quality which is second to none. The founding shareholders of Investacast wanted the business to move to its next stage of growth and development, and as such proceeded with a management buy in (‘MBI’) earlier this year. The MBI was led by Alistair Schofield (Managing Director of Expromet Technologies Group Limited). Alistair Schofield said ‘looking at the pedigree of Investacast, this is one of the UK’s top precision casting businesses and it is a great pleasure to become part of the management team to assist in the continued growth of the business at a national and international level’. In order to fund the MBI Expromet approached HSBC, given its background and expertise in the manufacturing sector. Martyn Drayton (International Relationship Manager at HSBC) said: ‘As a global bank and, given Investacast’s global connections, it was only natural for us to assist in funding the transaction, which was achieved through a mixture of debt and structured working capital facilities’. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton) said ‘when acting for the bank, as we did in this transaction, it is always important to strike the right balance between ensuring the bank is fully protected and meeting the commercial needs of the customer’. Jat Najran (CF Adviser at M&A Business Transactions) said that ‘it was a delight to work with Alistair and the team, to help support and guide them through this exciting chapter. It has been great to be involved in a deal like this, advised and funded by the Midlands corporate finance community, and I look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength’.

MSA Have The Prescription For Success

Over the last five years MSA Global Holdings Limited (‘MSA’) has continued its expansion of pharmacy businesses throughout the West Midlands and Worcestershire. Having only purchased the Droitwich pharmacy in 2015, Manor Park Pharmacy in 2016, MSA started negotiations with the owners of Anichem Limited (‘Anichem’) this year. Anichem owned pharmacies within Nuneaton and Rugby. MSA have built up their revenue to over £40 million with offices in Europe (United Kingdom and Germany), Africa (Uganda and Djibouti) as well as strong sales into the Middle East. The Group has expanded its focus from pharmaceuticals to medical devices, dental consumables and supplies to veterinary practices. The Group projects to reach £60 million revenue by 2020. Shan Hassam, Managing Director at MSA, said that “having purchased many pharmacies over the last few years you would naturally expect the process to become easier, but there are always new challenges, especially in a sector which is facing constant change. That said, with the right team of advisers to support us we achieved the ultimate goal. We’re also excited by the new proposed Health Centre in Rugby and are keen to expand our services there to provide patients with the very best service possible.” Manny Sahota, RMY Clements Limited, said that “having worked as MSA’s accountants for a number of years it is great to see how their business has developed and grown from strength to strength, and I know that with the new acquisition of Anichem MSA’s brand will continue to energise the pharmacy sector”. Colin Rodrigues, Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton, said that “with the recent cut backs in the pharmacy sector, consolidation is happening more frequently, but the key is to find good pharmacies with the ability to adapt to the changes that the sector is facing. As such I know Anichem will be the right fit for MSA”.

Just What The Doctor Ordered

Raylane Limited (Raylane) has been an established pharmacy operator for over 25 years, with pharmacies across the West Midlands. Raylane comprised of four pharmacies throughout the Black Country supplying both NHS and private prescriptions. Raylane has continued its expansion by acquiring three community pharmacies in Gloucestershire. Raylane was supported in this transaction by Barclays Bank who helped fund the acquisition. Whilst legal support was provided by Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers. Dinesh Patel, Managing Director of Raylane, said “this transaction, having taken longer than anticipated, completed on an auspicious day for me and now having acquired the new pharmacies Raylane will continue to meet the needs of patients both in the Midlands and further afield”. Mani Patel, Relationship Director at Barclays Bank, said “Barclays specialist team of healthcare advisers have a good understanding of the sector and as such were able to assist Dinesh with all of his needs”. Colin Rodrigues, Partner at Hawkins Hatton, said “Every deal has its own peculiarities, and notwithstanding the primary deal revolved around the acquisition of three pharmacies, there were wider issues which needed to be addressed. In this case, wider issues threatened completion, but with commercial foresight we were able to prescribe the perfect cure to these issues before they became fatal”.

Home to Home

TML Housewares Ltd is a family owned business, and has been a long established customer of Lloyds Bank. TML manufactures plastic storage boxes and housewares which are used as everyday items throughout the country, such as storage boxes, bowls, mop buckets and other associated kitchenware products. Being a successful manufacturer, TML sells into many of the UK’s independents and to PLC’s such as Poundland and Home & Bargains. The next step for TML is to continue expansion of its products and have an ongoing investment programme in plant and machinery. To allow for such expansion, TML took the opportunity to purchase additional commercial premises with the support of Lloyds Bank. This step has also created further employment opportunities within TML. The Directors of TML, Jagtar Narle and Jaspal Johal said “The new premises will enable increased capacity within the business, facilitating an increase in turnover of 10-15%.” Natasha Bhardwaj (Commercial Property Lawyer at Hawkins Hatton) said “Finding a new home for TML would have been difficult, so creating an extension to their existing premises by purchasing neighbouring properties was the perfect solution for TML, much like the products that they sell”. Mark Meakin, Relationship Manager at Lloyds Bank, Manufacturing said: “We’ve been helping businesses to grow and expand for over 250 years and when it is for a client who I have worked with for over 15 years, it makes the process even more rewarding”. “We are committed to supporting small to medium-sized manufacturers like TML and creating long-lasting relationships”.

The Successful Bonding of Two Chemical Businesses

Assured Solutions Limited (Assured) has long since been one of the Midlands’ leading ‘Own Label’ chemical manufacturers, providing a wide range of cleaning products, from domestic and household products to industrial products. As part of its offering Assured provides CLP compliant labelling and packaging, as well as carrying out Research and Development. This R&D is at the core of every product sold by Assured. Indeed, one of the key factors of its success is the rapid research and product development it undertakes for its clients, and its ability to bring new products successfully to market which assists its clients to stay ahead of their competitors. As part of Assured’s growth plan, the company has now merged with one of the Midland Regions leading industrial and commercial cleaning chemicals manufacturer, MSH Chemical Manufacturing Limited (MSH). MSH is based in Dudley, and has been trading successfully for over 30 years and has created a strong name and reputation within the chemical sector. Raj Naik (Director of MSH) said that “from our production facility in the Midlands we are able to service customers and markets across the country. With our own fleet of delivery vehicles and long established relationships with our couriers we are able to provide a safe, reliable and secure shipping service”. It was a natural progression for MSH to merge with a business like Assured, as this complimented and strengthened their offering both nationally and globally. Colin Rodrigues (Corporate Partner at Hawkins Hatton) said that “as with most deals there is always a magic formula, and Raj managed to find this”. Robert Taylor (Relationship Manager for Manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Plc) said that “At Lloyds Bank we are committed to supporting manufacturing businesses, and MSH is no exception. It has always been an ambitious business, focusing on its customers, and driving long-term growth. Underlining our commitment to helping Britain prosper is why we helped fund what is going to be a successful merger for MSH”.

Legionella Awareness within Business

Ames Group, one of the Midlands leading providers of environmental services including pest and bird control, clinical waste collection and washroom hygiene services, has expanded its offering into Legionella Risk Assessments and Water Management services. Based in Birmingham, Ames has always tried to meet the nations need to address environmental matters which may affect businesses from time to time. Given that a growing number of offices are now required to be compliant, an important consideration (other than what temperature the air conditioning is set at!) is whether or not the office, retail unit, School, university and/or factory are compliant with the relevant legislation in respect of legionella. Legionella is not just a risk associated with large cooling towers, in fact it can affect most water cooled air conditioning systems and as such the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommend that sources of risk to legionella are identified, prevented where possible or suitably managed, ensuring that accurate records are maintained. Alan Read, Managing Director of Ames, said “legionella is one of those things that people do not necessarily associate with an office or retail environment however, given the extreme heat we have been having in recent years over the summer period, air conditioning has become more prevalent. As such, at Ames, we want to try and meet the needs for business owners to ensure that they are at all times fully compliant with HSE requirements. That is why we have set up this new business of legionella services to ensure that all of the statutory obligations for any business owner are met by Ames”. Alan Read went on to say that “for a number of years Ames has been using Hawkins Hatton Corporate Lawyers for all of its corporate law needs and as such knowing that Hawkins Hatton are there, we have been able to not only continue to focus on the business but find new areas to grow using their expertise to avoid legal pitfalls.” Regulations affect every aspect of business life and as such it is always sensible to ensure businesses check they are fully compliant with all legislation and regulation in order to avoid directors falling foul of their duties which are imposed by statute under the Companies Act 2006. The HSE recommendations in respect of legionella are just another aspect of what may seem an innocuous issue turning out to be a much wider problem.