News about 13 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace, 22nd – 28th November 2015:
Sportpursuit £10m | Audley Travel | True Capital | Ribble Cycles £20m | Langland £15m | Nutmeg | Prodrivea £50m | Q-Bot | Flowgroup | Havelock Europa £83.4m | Severfield £201.5m | NCC £133.7m | Immunodiagnostic Systems £45.4m | Raspberry Pi Foundation
Business: Four years old. Shopping club for sportspeople, selling discounted sportswear - 1,000 sports brands, including GoPro and Berghaus - through online “flash” sales.
Founder: Chief executive - Adam Pikett, 35, one of four co-founders
Financials: sales of £10m last year; £15m forecasted for this year.
Staff: 55 people.
Investment: Has secured a £9.5m injection from SCOTTISH EQUITY PARTNERS, GRAFTON CAPITAL and existing investor DRAPER ESPRIT to fuel its overseas expansion. Early investors - William Reeve, co-founder of Lovefilm; Alex Chesterman, founder of Zoopla; and Alex Saint, chief executive of Secret Escapes.
News: Last week listed as one of the UK’s fastest-growing young companies in the Sunday Times Start-Up List.
AUDLEY TRAVEL: Adventure holiday pair to bag safari bonanza
DZ profile: Audley Travel Group Limited
Business: runs tailor-made luxury holidays to more than 80 countries.
Location: Witney, Oxfordshire.
Founders: Craig Burkinshaw set up Audley in a post office in Northampton, where he met John Brewer, the son of the post office’s owner.
Investment: Sold a majority stake in the business in 2012 to EQUISTONE PARTNERS EUROPE - a private equity firm that was formerly part of Barclays – whilst holding on to a “sizeable” minority stake.
Staff: About 360 people - of whom 250 based in Witney.
News: owners expect offer well above the £200m asking price from American investment giant KKR. Have also held talks with private equity firms 3i, CCMP Capital Advisors and Cinven.
Business: retail-focused private equity firm.
Founder: Matt Truman.
News: Sir Ian Cheshire, former boss of Kingfisher, and Terry Duddy, who led Home Retail Group, have joined the advisory board of True Capital.
DZ profile: Cyclesport North Limited
Business: Family-owned bike maker since 1897. Bought in the early 1980s by Terry Dove, who turned it into a mail-order business, later going online.
Financials: Sales of about £20m
Investment: True Capital announces first deal - the purchase of 60% of Ribble Cycles. Son, James Dove, still owns 40% and will continue to design its products.
LANGLAND: How I Made It: Joanna Chin, co-founder
DZ profile: Langland Advertising Design And Marketing Limited
Business: healthcare advertising agency started 23 years ago.
Financials: £15m annual revenues, £3m net profits
Staff: 100 people.
Founders: Joanna Chin and husband Philip, both 55.
Customers: some of the world’s biggest names in pharmaceuticals including RANDOX LABORATORIES, a diagnostics company,
News: Two weeks ago, sold the company to the French advertising agency PUBLICIS for an undisclosed sum. Chin, 54, now plans to focus on mentoring young start-up bosses. She is a finalist in this year’s NatWest Everywoman awards for female entrepreneurs.
How to exploit the rise of the machines. Struggling to train and retain your workers? Robotic systems are the answer
DZ profile: Prodrive Motorsport Limited
Business: makes racing cars for brands such as Aston Martin and Subaru.
ICB Classification: 3353 Automobiles
Location: Banbury, Oxfordshire
Founder: David Richards. Has a 76% stake.
Financials: revenues exceeding £50m.
Staff: 700 people.
News: Richards is exploring how physical robots can help take his business forward. It already uses online robots, and Richards wants to bring in offline equivalents – in the composites division, which uses very precise measurements and specifications to ensure every component is identical.
DZ profile: Q-bot Limited
Business: works with housing associations and local authorities. Has used robots to insulate under floors since it went live in 2012.
Location: Wandsworth, southwest London.
Founder: Mathew Holloway’s, 36.
Staff: 15 people
Investment: is completing a £2m round of investment. Has so far been funded by grants and private investors.
FLOWGROUP: Autumn Statement: VAT puts pressure on green boilermaker
DZ profile: Flowgroup Plc
Business: makes an energy-efficient boiler that also produces power.
Location: Capenhurst, Cheshire. Office in Ipswich.
Staff: 200 people. Chief Executive: Tony Stiff
Suppliers: The boilers are made in Scotland by JABIL, a US company that also makes the iPhone and other gadgets
1. New product, which uses the heat given off by burning gas to generate electricity. 77 test units have been installed so far. The company expects to sell 15,000 next year. Cost could shoot up 15 per cent after a value added tax ruling by the EU in June. The boiler is eligible for the government’s “feed-in tariff” scheme that pays customers if they generate electricity from a renewable source.
2. Mr Stiff “We are a lossmaking business. Our shareholders have put in £60m. They will do extremely well out of it eventually. But we should have more government help.
3. …has never had government grants but does receive research and development tax credits.
HAVELOCK EUROPA: Havelock hit by financial services customer cutbacks
DZ profile: Havelock Europa Plc
Business: Shopfitter and interiors group.
Financials: turnover £83.4m in 2014; £2.4m pre-tax loss in the first half of 2015.
Chief executive: David Ritchie, since May.
News: lost nearly 40% of its value after serious cutbacks by its biggest financial services customer. Had already announced plans in September to diversify, with focus on the office and retail market, and to reduce reliance on big financial sector customers facing bank branch closures, such as Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco Bank.
FT Small-cap Week
SEVERFIELD: proves its mettle with rise in profits
DZ profile: Severfield Plc
Business: Engineer quoted on the London Stock Exchange. Severfield-Rowen is one of the UK's leading suppliers of structural steel for major construction projects including stadiums, car parks, bridges, shopping centres and offices.
ICB Classification: 2353 Building Materials & Fixtures
Financials: 84 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to £3.2m in the first half of its financial year and a one-fifth rise in revenues to £117m. Revenues in year to 31 March 2015: £201.5m. Shares up 2 per cent, market capitalisation £184m.
NCC: soars on deal for Dutch online threats specialist
DZ profile: Ncc Group Plc
Business: UK cyber security group - formerly known as the government’s National Computer Centre - provides cyber security products and services such as real-time threat monitoring to customers including large corporates such as financial services companies, governments and intelligence agencies. .. specialising in verification, security consulting, website performance, and domain services. Quoted on the London Stock Exchange. 5,000 customers. NCC’s assurance arm counts most of the FTSE 100, many Fortune 500 companies and the British government among its customers.
Staff: Chief Executive: Rob Cotton
Financials: Revenues £133.7m in year to 31 May 2015.
1. acquired Fox, a Dutch competitor, which specialises in threat intelligence and analysis for €133.25 (£93.5m).
2. is raising £126m from investors for the deal, as well as a £30m loan.
Cyber security groups. WikiLeaks documents on alleged CIA cyber espionage provides boost to UK companies | Madhumita Murgia, FT. March 11, 2017.
3. warned that earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be 20 per cent lower than the bottom of its previous forecast range of £45.5m-£47.5m after a disappointing third-quarter performance.Year on year net income fell -63% from 16.79m to 6.28m despite a 56% increase in revenues from £133.7m to £209.1m. Its market capitalisation reached £1bn in March 2016 and it entered the FTSE 250. Since then it has lost almost three quarters of its value.
4. Last week, the group’s chief executive Rob Cotton stepped down with immediate effect a week after a profit warning that caused the company’s share price to fall by almost a third. He will be replaced temporarily by Brian Tenner, chief financial officer, who only arrived on February 1.
Cyber security group NCC slumps to full-year loss | Mehreen Khan, FT. July 19, 2017.
Carillion and NCC have fallen into textbook traps of expansion | Kate Burgess, FT. July 23, 2017.
5. Chris Stone, executive chairman and Brian Tenner, interim chief executive
6. The group’s pre-tax losses amounted to £55.3m in the year ending in May, down from a profit of £9.4m in 2016. NCC’s revenues were up on the year to 244.5m from 209.1m – a rise of 17 per cent
7. In their rush to turn the small Manchester company into a big one, NCC’s former bosses paid too much for acquisitions that they failed to integrate. They took on too many new staff before knowing there was enough work to keep them busy, and moved into swanky offices. They alienated key customers, including the Dutch government, and lost contracts they assumed were in the bag. The company also booked revenues early, didn’t account for holiday pay properly and bungled the paper work so that dividends were paid unnecessarily out of non-distributable reserves.
Cyber security threats stir competition among UK tech groups | Aliya Ram, FT. July 14, 2018
8. ...the company has had a better year. ...revenue figures that have increased 7.2 per cent to £118.2m. Shares are up 18 per cent to £1.98 over the past year, giving the company a market capitalisation of £562.7m. This compares with a market value of £1bn in March 2016 when NCC Group entered the FTSE 250.
IMMUNODIAGNOSTIC SYSTEMS: “faces challenging market“
DZ profile: Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings Plc
Business: develops and markets specialist diagnostic testing kits for bone, growth, hypertension and other disorders. It serves the global clinical laboratory market.
Investment: Floated on Aim in 2004
Financials: revenues £45.36m in year to 31 March 2015
1. Decline in first-half revenues and profits
2. Family office investor Burkhard Wittek, founder of Forum and Immunodiagnostic’s biggest shareholder, is now non-executive chairman. Patricio Lacalle, chief executive since April.
Aim stocks face succession questions | Chris Tighe and Andy Bounds, FT. November 10, 2017
3. described the 12 months to March 31 as “the year of stabilisation”, when it largely stopped the decline in its financial numbers and laid the foundations for a return to medium-term growth. ...made £1.2m in pre-tax profit on £40m turnover. October’s trading update showed first-half revenues of £18.7m, an 11 per cent drop on a constant exchange rate basis. But its cash position had increased by £1m to £29.7m on 30 September.
4. In March, Regis Duval arrived as group chief executive, replacing Patricio Lacalle, who left after two years for personal reasons. On October 31, IDS announced that Mr Duval was stepping down with immediate effect, also for personal reasons. His successor is Dutchman Jaap Stuut. Mr Stutt, who has been with IDS since 2013, was responsible for marketing and corporate development.
5. the company’s share price peaked at £12 in mid-2011. But as big competitors began challenging its early mover success in vitamin D testing, debate about diversification began, expectations were downgraded and boardroom upheavals started.
Wikipedia: The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charitable organization registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The board of trustees was assembled by 2008 and the Raspberry Pi Foundation was founded as a registered charity in May 2009 in Caldecote, Cambridgeshire, UK. The Foundation is supported by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory and Broadcom. Its aim is to "promote the study of computer science and related topics, especially at school level, and to put the fun back into learning computing."
Business: British maker of ultra-cheap, microcomputers based on a technology that was spun out of University of Cambridge. Most of the computers are manufactured by Sony in Pencoed, Wales, and distributed by Electrocomponents and Premier Farnell.
Co-Founder: Eben Upton
Competitors: Arduino and BeagleBone Black (backed by Texas Instruments).
Sales: about 80 per cent are sold outside of the UK and has sold more than 7m of its devices worldwide - about 2m since February, and about 2m Pi2 computers in total. Recent sales: 270,000 in October. About a third of its sales are to schools to help teach computing and a third are to industry.
News: as it seeks to expand into the “internet of things” and appeal to a broader range of consumers has launched its latest credit card-sized computer - the Pi Zero - with a price tag of $5. At 6.5cm by 3cm, and 5mm thick, it is roughly half the size of the original $25 Rasperry Pi launched in 2012 and 1.5 times as powerful. The Pi2, launched in February, is six times as powerful and twice as large as the latest device, and sells for $35.