Case study

Invoice Finance supports Management Buy In of 96 year old business


Bradford based business Wilkinson and Scott Limited is an established chemical and dye supplier to the textile industry and has built a solid reputation since its inception over 96 years ago. Run by the same family for the last 40 years, when its owner was ready to retire it was imperative to find a replacement with the expertise required to ensure the business continued to operate at its highest standard and with no interruption for loyal and longstanding customers. Enter Ian Lewis, Managing Director of Advanced Colours and Chemicals Limited, a business operating within the same sector located in Haslingden, Lancashire. With his wealth of experience in the industry and a clear vision on how both businesses can keep growing for years to come, Ian turned to Paul Spencer of PM + M accountants who in turn recommended discussions with introducer Sarah Bates of Working Capital Solutions to find out what funding options would best assist his Management Buy In.

Ian explains, “Anne Heeley could have easily sold the business to a larger outfit who would have simply bought their order book and closed the business down, but this would have meant the rest of the team at Wilkinson and Scott would have been made redundant, forcing existing customers to look for a new supplier, and would have signalled the end of a business that’s been trading efficiently for almost a hundred years”.

Ian was introduced to Michael Beer, Regional Director at asset-based lending specialist Ultimate Finance, who set out to tailor a facility to assist with the transaction. Michael says, “With over 20 years of funding businesses we know that the right funding solution can make a big difference when it comes to helping them meet their ambitions, and we have supported many MBIs and MBOs with our range of facilities, so we knew we could provide the support they needed. In this particular case, we were able to tailor two Invoice Finance facilities, one for Wilkinson and Scott and one for Advanced Colours and Chemicals to provide a total of £400k to give as much liquidity as possible beyond the business acquisition”.

Thanks to the additional flexibility offered by this type of facility the funding has not only supported with the Buy In, but it has also allowed for additional cashflow to be generated to help settle older funding facilities. Sarah Bates at Working Capital Solutions says, “As an independent commercial finance broker, our role is to assess our clients’ particular needs and match a funding package that delivers a solution; enabling their business to grow and achieve its objectives. We strongly believe that every business is unique, and when it comes to funding, we consider each business owner to be entitled to good, honest advice. We have been working with Ultimate Finance for a couple of years now and we know their team shares this mindset, offering business owners a truly personal service in a fast-paced market. In this instance, Michael understood Ian’s requirements, the challenges faced by the sector and tailored an invoice finance facility to create opportunities for both businesses to grow in the future.”

Now at the helm of both companies, Ian is confident the two businesses will continue to prosper for years to come. He explains, “It is an amazing challenge to take on a business about to celebrate its 100th year of trading, and we’re very much intent on keeping it operating from Bradford which will become the UK City of Culture in 2025, just one year before Wilkinson and Scott reaches its own incredible milestone. Our two companies complement each other, and we now have a greater geographical reach, two factors that promise to help the textile industry even more for decades to come”.

Michael concludes, “We’re very proud to have played a part in the story of Wilkinson and Scott through our dynamic approach to lending. Not only has the funding we’re providing helped keep it moving closer to an astonishing milestone, it has also helped cement the growth of not one but two businesses. We look forward to providing ongoing support to Ian and his teams for years to come”.

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