COMPANIES: from Hallmarq Veterinary to Zigzag

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on February 29, 2016, 9:00 am in News, Other


Wednesday January 1st 2020

IMAGE: courtesy of Moyan Brenn - Navajo cowboy riding his horse inside Monument Valley Navajo tribal park.


News about 13 UK growth companies and/or accelerators (turnover in brackets) in the GRID marketplace, 21st – 27th February 2016:


MPM Products (£25m) | Tunnock’s (£51.3m) | GT Group (£31m) | Perkbox (£5m) | Trifast (£160m) | Zigzag Associates (£25m) | Hallmarq Veterinary Imaging (£5m) | Clothes2Order (£12m) | Wilson Benesch | JJ Churchill | Guttridge (£11m) | SHD Composite Materials (£6m) | Rightmove (£192.1m)

MPM PRODUCTS: Families’ fund bids for posh pet food maker | Ben Harrington, Sunday Times. 21 February
DZ profile:

Business: Posh pet food brands Applaws and Encore. Has grown rapidly as pet owners seek better- quality food for their dogs and cats.
ICB Classification: 3577 Food Products
Launched: 2002
Location: Macclesfield
Founders: Roger Wood, Roger Coleman and Jon Kinsey
Staff: chief executive Julian Bambridge
Financials: sales of more than £25m last year.
News: Company being auctioned by corporate financiers at PwC. Bidders: Belgium-based venture capital firm Verlinvest; Mayfair Equity Partners, which was set up by former Lloyds Development Capital executive Daniel Sasaki: buyout firm, ECI.
NB Verlinvest was set up by the de Mevius and de Spoelberch families, whose forefathers founded parts of AB InBev (now the world’s largest brewer), which is buying FTSE 100-listed SAB Miller for £75bn.

TUNNOCK’S: Scots teacake tycoon who’ll never be too old to conquer the world | Peter Evans, Sunday Times.
DZ profile:

Business: One of the world’s biggest privately owned snack businesses. Each week the factory produces 6m caramel wafers and 4m teacakes — chocolate-covered marshmallow on a biscuit base. The products, exported to 30 markets, are especially popular in the Middle East.
ICB Classification: 3577 Food Products
Launched: 1890
Location: Uddingston, just southeast of Glasgow.
Founder: Thomas Tunnock
Staff: Family business - Boyd Tunnock, 83, Chairman. His family’s wealth is estimated at £75m, just behind Sir Sean Connery on Scotland’s rich list.
Financials: Last year turned over a record £51.3m and made a pre-tax profit of £7.6m.

GT GROUP: How I Made It - Geoff Turnbull, founder | Laura Onita, Sunday Times.
DZ profile:

Business: engineering company at the forefront of environmentally aware manufacturing. GT has grown organically, first as a subcontractor working on engineering projects for bigger companies and then by making its own cutting-edge products. It exports to countries including Brazil, India, Germany and France. Today the company makes parts for more than 60 clients, including BP, Shell and Volvo.
ICB Classification: 2757 Industrial Machinery
Launched: 1983
Location: Peterlee,County Durham
Founder: Geoff Turnbull, 69, chairman and chief executive
Staff: employs about 300 people across its five divisions in Peterlee and Consett in County Durham, and Pallion in Sunderland.
Financials: Last year reported profits of £3m on sales of £31m, 90% of which were exports. Revenues were down on 2014’s £37m, affected by tumbling oil prices - it also builds systems to transport oil and gas safely. Based on its orders, GT expects sales to reach £55m next year.
1. When the recession hit in 2008, Turnbull had to cut production and reduce wages by 15% to avoid redundancies and keep his research and development team working full-time. His decision paid off: “We came out of the recession stronger than we went into it because we invested in technology.”
2. Is now working on a range of products for handling liquefied natural gas to sell to big energy companies. Plans to develop new engine emission systems to reduce energy waste are also on the cards.

PERKBOX: Staff benefit from special offers | Jonathan Moules, FT. 22 February.
DZ profile:

Business: secures bulk deals with high-street retailers, cinemas, restaurants and insurers to create employee benefits packages tailored to the needs of small businesses. “Small businesses provide employment to 65 per cent of the UK population. We perceived a gap in the market for digital web platforms dedicated to helping small businesses and start-ups grow.”
ICB Classification: 2793 Business Training & Employment Agencies
Location: London
Founders: Saurav Chopra and Chieu Cao
Staff: Headcount has quintupled in 18 months and should go over 100 this year
Financials: tripled sales last year and Mr Chopra expects to triple sales again in 2016 from £5m to £15m ($21m). The goal is to achieve a turnover of £100m in three years.
Investment: initial £350,000 investment from high-profile figures in London’s start-up community, notably Alex Chesterman of property website Zoopla and Sherry Coutu, a business angel.


Glare of spotlight scales up Hornby’s pain | Kate Burgess, FT. 22 February
...every painful shift towards Hornby’s extinction is being played out in public....Contrast that with Trifast..
DZ profile:

Business: manufacturer which supplies 100,000 types of fasteners, from micro-screws to the electronics industry to the nuts that go into cars.
ICB Classification: 2757 Industrial Machinery
Launched: founded nearly 50 years ago
Location: Sussex
Staff: Mark Belton, chief executive. Chairman Malcolm Diamond.
Financials: Analysts have pencilled in about £15.5m of pre-tax profits on £160m of sales this year and £16m-plus next year.
1. Crisis five years ago culminated in pre-tax losses of about £15m in 2009. Sales had fallen to £84m and the shares were 8p. Its fasteners are everywhere but…people had heard of Trifast. That allowed it to recover in peace. Mr Diamond, who started working at Trifast in the 1970s, returned to take charge in 2009. He and the new board spent the next six years restoring morale and margins, refocusing the group’s sales force and re-establishing control over cash and stock. Trifast has expanded steadily since, acquiring businesses and winning new customers.
2. Most of Trifast’s products are now made in Asia. But it still makes about a third of its fasteners in Uckfield, East Sussex. …which enabled the company to be quicker, more flexible and cut lead times while keeping an eye on quality. Greater productivity and efficiency has more than made up for any increase in employment costs in the UK, says Mr Belton.

Sterling’s fall brings winners and losers across the economy | Chris Giles, FT. 26 February

In the medium term, most economists think weaker sterling should stimulate the economy and help it to rebalance towards exports. ..More important than the medium-term effects, however, for business are immediate winners and losers in the corporate sector dependent on whether they are hedged against currency changes, have predominantly foreign revenues or foreign costs.

DZ profile:

Business: provide quality assurance services to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry in 70 different countries.
ICB Classification: 2791 Business Support Services
Launched: 2010
Founder: Stephen Smith
Financials: turnover £2m
News: “We are a service driven business,” he said. “We have clients all over the place. Contracts are in dollars or pounds. They run for two years so you cannot change them when the currency changes.” His staff often pay travel up front, being reimbursed by clients up to 60 days later, so hotel bills and airfares could cost more than expected. With 70 per cent of its £2m turnover from overseas, the current volatility in sterling is alarming.

DZ profile:

Business: manufactures and supports animal MRI scanners
ICB Classification: 4535 Medical Equipment
People: Jos Belgrave, chief executive
Financials: overseas sales account for 78 per cent of its £5m annual turnover
News: had taken out currency hedge to avoid nasty shocks. It buys parts in dollars and sells in the US so the impact of those changes balance out. But the euro is a problem so the company hedges its exposure.

DZ profile:

Business: clothing manufacturer - personalises garments for companies, charities and others
ICB Classification: 3763 Clothing & Accessories
Location: Greater Manchester
Staff: employs 115 people. Michael Conway, managing director
Financials: turnover £12m 
News: said he would have to raise prices or cut margins. “There is very little in the UK. We buy it and the machines in dollars. If this carries on prices will rise or it will have an impact on our profits.”

DZ profile:

Business: hi-end audio equipment maker. Prices for the company’s carbon based turntables and speakers range from £700 to £70,000.
ICB Classification: 3743 Consumer Electronics
Location: Sheffield
Staff: Craig Milnes, design director
News: said cheap sterling lowered its cost of production. But it also led dealers in Asia, which is its biggest market, to demand discounts to reflect that.

Business: precision engineer
ICB Classification: 2757 Industrial Machinery
Location: Midlands
Staff: employs 120 people Andrew Churchill, managing director
News: “Some of my big costs are priced in yen or Swiss francs. I am more concerned with sterling’s slide as an indicator of increased volatility in the macroeconomy, and the fact that it has jumped down that much in such a short time,” “Volatility is the enemy of long-term business planning. It’s the hidden brake on the upward drive to export more, to grow,” he added.

DZ profile:

Business: makes conveyors and elevators for handling bulk materials
ICB Classification: 2757 Industrial Machinery
Location: Lincolnshire
Staff: 90 employees Stuart Spratt, Managing Director
Financials: turnover £11m
News: welcomed any reversal of the euro’s fall against the pound over the past year. “If [sterling] continues to go further down it will benefit our exports and make our European competitors less competitive in the UK,” Mr Spratt said. But he said that a bigger issue was that customers in the UK and Ireland were not “willing to invest” owing to the fall in commodity prices and economic uncertainty. Other manufacturers were more concerned by burdensome government policies, the skills shortage and the need to improve productivity.

DZ profile:

Business: makes carbon fibre products: tooling and component prepregs (Pre-preg is a term for "pre-impregnated" composite fibers where a matrix material, such as epoxy, is already present. The fibers often take the form of a weave and the matrix is used to bond them together and to other components during manufacture.)
ICB Classification: 2757 Industrial Machinery
Launched: 2010
Location: Lincolnshire
People: 40 employees. Jacqui Jackson, finance director
Financials: exports account for 15 per cent of sales turnover of £6m
News: said a break with the EU could put the company’s rising exports at risk. “We have very stringent export rules which we must abide by. Being part of the EU makes it easier to export,” she said.

RIGHTMOVE: maintains grip in battle of property portals | Judith Evans, FT. 27 February
DZ profile: Rightmove Plc

Business: property portal FTSE 250-listed company.
People: Nick McKittrick, chief executive.
Financials: increased revenues 15 per cent to £192.1m in 2015; pre-tax profit was up 12 per cent to £137.1m. Underlying operating margin was 75.1 per cent, up from 74.6 per cent a year ago.

1. 1.3bn visits to its website in 2015, 18 per cent more than a year earlier. Has increased the number of agents listing on its site to 19,752 over the year to the end of December, a 2 per cent rise year on year, and commands 77 per cent of web traffic to the sector, up from 74 per cent a year ago.

Rightmove profits jump 10 per cent in nervous market | Oliver Ralph, FT. July 29, 2017.

2. The company said on Friday that its customer numbers — mainly estate agents — edged up to a record high of 20,358, and that there are now more than 1.1m homes listed on its site.

3.  Rightmove said that housing transactions fell by 8 per cent in the first half agents FOXTONS and  COUNTRYWIDE both reported sharp falls in first-half profits.

4. Reporting his first set of results since taking the top job at the end of June, chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson said: “Home hunters visited Rightmove a record 3,000 times a minute in the first half of 2017, turning to us first to search and research on the only place you can see almost the entire UK residential property market.” Rightmove has launched a number of features designed to pull in more visitors to its site. They include “Where can I live”, which helps home-hunters find areas they can afford within a given travel time from specified locations, and an app designed to make renting in London easier. It has also launched a product to help estate agents identify potential sellers in their area.

5. First half ...underlying operating profits increased by 11 per cent to £91m, on revenues that rose by a similar proportion to £120m as the company managed to squeeze more money out of each advertiser.

Rightmove pushed its dividend up by 16 per cent to 22p per share, and said that it had also bought back £43m of shares in the first half of the year.