COMPANIES: Swiftkey to White Company

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on February 8, 2016, 9:00 am in News, Other



News about 6 UK growth companies and/or accelerators in the GRID marketplace, 31st January – 6th February 2016:

Maids to Measure | White Company £163.6m | ME+EM £7m | Jamie Hendry Productions £8m | Swiftkey £8.4m | Foxtons £150m

MAIDS TO MEASURE: TV Dragon backs bridesmaids’ dresses | Simon Duke, Sunday Times. 31 January.

DZ profile:

Business: fashion company that makes dresses for bridesmaids
ICB Classification: 3763 Clothing & Accessories
Launched: 2013
Location: London
Founders: India, 32, and Sinclair, 36, Sellars
News: Cyprus-born businessman and Dragons’ Den judge Touker Suleyman, 62, is investing £500,000. He has invested in several well-known retailers: shirtmaker HAWES & CURTIS, womenswear label GHOST and wholesaler, LOW PROFILE, supplies clothing to a range of retailers, including M&S. They will use the cash to expand their range of dresses.

WHITE COMPANY: Cotton queen. Profits double  | Oliver Shah, Sunday Times.

DZ profile:

Business: retail chain which sells homeware and accessories. More than 50 shops.
ICB Classification: 5371 Apparel Retailers
Launched: over 20 years ago
Founder: Chrissie Rucker, 47, a former beauty and fashion journalist, set up her venture more than 20 years ago after struggling to find good-quality white linen for a house bought by Nick Wheeler, then her boyfriend. He founded his Charles Tyrwhitt business as a mail-order shirts brand while at Bristol University in 1986.
Team: Will Kernan, chief executive
Financials: Sales increased by 14% to £163.6m in the year to last March. Pre-tax profits rose from £6.6m to £12.8m

1. The White Company almost doubled its profits last year, despite an expensive overhaul of its distribution centre. Opened new stores in Milton Keynes and Norwich. Has started selling in America over the internet and is considering opening its first stores there. It is also starting to introduce more products aimed at men.

UPDATE: Profits soar for retail power couple | Laura Onita, The Sunday Times. June 11, 2017
2. Chrissie Rucker and Nick Wheeler have doubled profits in the family holding company that controls their two retail empires, the White Company and Charles Tyrwhitt. Annual profits soared to £15.8m from £8.7m, according to newly filed accounts at Companies House. The investment vehicle, BECTIN, handles their holdings in Rucker’s White Company, which sells homeware and clothing, and Wheeler’s menswear retailer, Charles Tyrwhitt.

3. The White Company’s profits rose to £17.2m on sales of £184.3m in the year ending in March 2016. It paid dividends totalling £17.5m, of which £5m went to Bectin.She owns almost all of it, although she did give a 1% stake, as a wedding present, to her husband Nick Wheeler, 52. ....58 shops in the UK — and soon two in America — employing 1,600 staff.Rucker is opening her first international store in New York on Fifth Avenue this week and a second one before Christmas in New Jersey. 

4. The two companies are run separately. Profits at Charles Tyrwhitt fell to £4.6m from £18.6m, though sales edged up 2% to £176.2m. The couple’s wealth stands at £427m, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

ME+EM: How I Made It: Clare Hornby, co-founder |Laura Onita, Sunday Times.
Business: produces stylish, practical clothing for the busy woman. Clients: Duchess of Cambridge, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and actress Rosamund Pike. ME+EM clothes are made in Italy, Portugal and, more recently, China.
ICB Classification: 5371 Apparel Retailers
Launched: 2009
Location: flagship central London store near Marble Arch
Founder: Clare Hornby, 46, with her friend Emma Howarth
Staff: 35 people
Financials: sales of £7m last year, up from £4m in 2014. Revenue growth has averaged more than 50% a year since its launch. Some 95% of sales are online orders from the UK and abroad.
Investment: backers such as the telecoms tycoon Sir Charles Dunstone and other angel investors
News: There are plans to add a range of shoes and jewellery and more stores by next year. Ambitions will be funded with more outside cash, Hornby said.

JAMIE HENDRY PRODUCTIONS: Jamie Hendry is re-writing the rule book on West End theatre | Alex Lawson, Evening Standard. 1 February.

DZ profile:

Business: Theatre production group for plays and musicals. Also has other businesses used to raise money for productions. From tour booking and ticketing to representation (of everyone from directors to technical staff) and stage production, the aim is to become a one-stop shop for live entertainment.
ICB Classification: 5755 Recreational Services
Launched: 2008
Founder: Jamie Hendry, 30.
Staff: 10 people
Financials: £8m turnover in 2015
Investment: After building its own platform, £1 million was raised with perks including opening-night tickets.

SWIFTKEY: Microsoft steps up AI push with Swiftkey deal | Tim Bradshaw and Murad Ahmed, FT. 3 February.

DZ profile: TouchType Ltd
Business: maker of a predictive keyboard powered by artificial intelligence that is installed on more than 300 million devices. Also earns revenues from smartphone makers Samsung and BlackBerry, which pre-install the app on their devices. Its Android keyboard supports more than 100 languages, including Arabic, Icelandic, Welsh and several Chinese and Indian dialects.
Launched: 2008
Location: London, San Francisco and Seoul
Founders: Jon Reynolds and Ben Medlock, who met while they were studying at Cambridge.
Staff: 150 people.
Financials: incorporated as TouchType. Annual report, filed at the end of 2014, reports sales of £8.4m.
Investment: Raised over $20m from backers including Accel Partners, Index Ventures and Octopus Investments.
1. Microsoft has acquired London-based Swiftkey in a deal worth $250m. The founders will each make upwards of $30m from the buyout.
2. Swiftkey is available for iOS and Android devices but not Windows phones. Mr Shum said Microsoft is likely to integrate Swiftkey’s technology across its software, such as Windows.

FOXTONS: defies homes market slowdown to pay special dividend | Judith Evans, FT. 4 February. 2016

DZ profile: Foxtons Group Plc
Business: FTSE 250 estate agent group
ICB Classification: 8637 Real Estate Services
Location: London

Staff: Nic Budden, chief executive
Financials: Turnover was up by 4 per cent to £150m, boosted by a 32 per cent increase in revenues from its in-house mortgage broker. Expect that full-year adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation would be in line with last year’s £46.5m. This despite a slowdown in the London property market triggered by the stamp duty change, high pricing and fewer purchases by overseas investors.

Investment: floated in 2013 on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange
UPDATE: Foxtons warns of tough trading conditions after profit plunge | Judith Evans, FT. March 8, 2016

1. recorded pre-tax profit of £18.8m for the year to December, compared with £41m in 2015, as Foxtons was hit by a drop in the number of homes in the capital changing hands. Revenue at Foxtons fell 11 per cent to £132m last year. The decline was driven by a 23 per cent drop, to £56m, in revenue from housing sales. Foxtons’ lettings business was more resilient, with revenue declining 1 per cent to £68m. Mortgage revenue rose 7 per cent to £8.9m. Foxtons attributed the performance to a spike in new mortgage business as landlords and second homeowners rushed to beat a new stamp duty surcharge on additional properties introduced in April.

2. Foxtons’ tough 2016 marked a change in fortunes for the company which proved adept at spotting London districts set for gentrification during the housing boom. 

3. opened seven new branches during 2016, bringing the total to 65, but average revenue per office fell to £2.2m last year, from £2.7m in 2015.

Foxtons reports first annual loss since 2013 listing | Judith Evans, FT. 1st March, 2019

4. reported a loss of £17.2m in the year to December, down from a £6.5m profit in 2017, as revenues dropped 5 per cent to £111.5m. …its first full-year loss since listing six years ago after a slump in London’s housing market was worsened by Brexit jitters. The company said higher costs, partly linked to branch closures, had compounded the pressure of lower housing transactions …has focused tightly on London’s mid-market, meaning it has been harder hit by the downturn there than some of its more diversified rivals.

5. closed six branches during 2018, including its Park Lane flagship, resulting in a £5.9m non-recurring charge. revenues were down 15 per cent to £36.2m during the year.                                                         

6. Foxtons said its lettings business had been “resilient”, with revenues up 1 per cent to £67m after two years of declines. But the division will now have to cope with a ban on fees charged to tenants, which takes effect in June.