COMPANIES: FE to Mountain Warehouse

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on January 2, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other


Thursday February 14th 2019


Thursday February 14th 2019

IMAGE: courtesy of Mountain Warehouse


Bakery chain - Theatre effects - Investment research

- Outdoor clothing - Pies -



Coopland & Son | Ellipsis Entertainment | FE | Mountain Warehouse £184m | Pieminister | Andy Thornton £15m


News about 6 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 17th – 30th December 2017:


COOPLAND & SON: Bakery chain - Yorkshire

£8.5m help for bakery chain | The Sunday Times. December 17, 2017

DZ profile: Coopland & Son (Scarborough) Ltd

Business: Britain’s third-biggest bakery chain which runs 140 shops, 11 cafes and 28 sandwich vans across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and the northeast.

Launched: 1885 and It remains in family hands four generations later.

Location: Scarborough, Yorkshire

Investment: has received £8.5m from the BUSINESS GROWTH FUND (BGF) to fuel expansion.

News: Cooplands plans to use the BGF money to open 30 shops in the next three years, explore acquisitions and improve its production bases in Scarborough, Durham and Hull.



ELLIPSIS ENTERTAINMENT: Theatre effects - Hertfordshire

All the world’s a virtual stage: augmented reality theatre venture raises cash | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. December 17, 2017

DZ profile: Ellipsis Entertainment Ltd

Business: A start-up that promises a new type of theatre experience is developing a method of “fusing augmented reality with the sets and actors of traditional theatre”. Demand for experiences such as those promised by Ellipsis is being driven by younger consumers, who appear to prioritise one-off events over owning assets such as cars and houses. Ellipsis will open its first experience in London in March next year, before moving on to other cities.

Launched: 2017

Location: Borehamwood, Hertfordshire

Founders: Jon Scott and Andrew McGuinness. McGuinness co-founded the advertising agency BEATTIE MCGUINNESS BUNGAY and PR firm SEVEN DIALS. Scott, was previously finance chief of the private members’ club QUINTESSENTIALLY.

Investment: has raised £3m from investors, including the founders of online estate agency Purplebricks. The investors in the funding round include Lord Alli, former chairman of the online retailer Asos; Sam Weihagen, former boss of Thomas Cook; and Michael and Kenny Bruce, who set up Purplebricks. Lord (David) Puttnam, the Oscar-winning film producer who used to run Columbia Pictures, is a board adviser and shareholder.



FE: Investment research - London

City news service in investment scoop | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. December 17, 2017

DZ profile: Financial Express (Holdings) Limited (FE)

Business: the UK's leading investment ratings and research agency. Has grown rapidly by selling data on funds and investment trusts via its website

Launched: 1998

Location: London

Founders: set up by entrepreneurs Michael Holland, a former Citibank executive, and Craig Wilson in 1996 after they bought the fund-information business Prestel from BT.

Staff: Neil Bradford, former chief executive of Argus Media, joined FE in September as its new chief executive.

Financials: generated almost £1.9m of operating profit from almost £26m in revenues in 2016.

News: FE is preparing to sell a multimillion-pound stake in the INVESTEGATE business - one of the few announcement services approved by City regulators. It is used to distribute company results, news of share sales and boardroom shake-ups, and official confirmations or denials of takeover approaches. FE has hired advisers from PORTICO CAPITAL to work on a sale of a shareholding. The disposal process is expected to kick-off early next year.



MOUNTAIN WAREHOUSE: Outdoor clothing - London

Interview: My peak is still a long way off, says Mountain Warehouse boss Mark Neale | Sabah Meddings The Sunday Times. December 17, 2017

DZ profile: Mountain Warehouse Ltd

Business: the UK’s biggest outdoor clothing brand - everything from fleeces and rucksacks to ski wear - has expanded into seven other countries, with two more on the horizon. has 285 sites, with plans to more than double this number.

Launched: 1997

Location: London

Founder: Mark Neale, 49, Welshman, former strategy consultant is worth £170m, according to The Sunday Times Rich List. He launched Mountain Warehouse from a single shop in Swindon after being introduced to Italian private equity tycoon, Andrea Bonomi, who owns a stake in Aston Martin. Bonomi had bought Karrimor, the outdoors brand now owned by Sports Direct, and needed some shops to sell it in.

Staff: 1997

Financials: In the six months to August 27, sales rose 19.3% to £91.6m. Pre-tax profits climbed from £4m to £4.7m.

Sales were up 30.8pc in the year to the end of February 2017, to £184.4m, with pre-tax profits up 22pc to £19.8m from £16.2m last year.

Investment: Neale holds an 85% stake in the company. His success has been shared with private equity investors, the last of which he bought out in 2013 in an £85m deal backed by RBS. Bonomi received £2.2m when he exited in 2002, according to Neale, while NBGI, part of the National Bank of Greece, invested £1.6m and left with £10m in 2007, when Icelandic investors came on board. “That was an interesting period,” he says. “The business was doing brilliantly but the shareholders went bust.” LDC, the private equity arm of Lloyds Bank, helped Neale buy out the Icelanders before he took full control of the business.


1. Neale - his latest venture: an entirely unrelated chain of gift shops, called Neon Sheep. He pulls out a selection of its products: a pink flamingo desk light, a pink plastic snakeskin rucksack, and a glittery padded note pad — available for £8.  His selection of fashion accessories, homeware and stationery echoes that found in Smiggle, Flying Tiger and Oliver Bonas. Neale has not “bet the house on it”, initially opening just three Neon Sheep shops — in Ealing, west London, Festival Place in Basingstoke and Lakeside shopping centre in Essex. Neon Sheep is more of a pop-up so far with leases of one year or less.

2. Neale flirted with the idea of a stock market float last year, but decided against it after the EU referendum.

Industry experts see it as a shrewd business move. “It’s just the kind of innovation we need from a successful retailer who understands the industry,” said one senior retail property adviser.

3. Opening more shops overseas provides some hedging. Neale is aiming for 300 international outposts, including debuts in Holland and the Czech Republic, on top of the same number in Britain. A recent scouting mission to Australia and New Zealand suggested room for further bricks-and-mortar expansion. He has already opened 41 in America and Canada

4. Floral Street, the perfume shop in Covent Garden opened by his wife, Michelle Feeney.



PIEMINISTER: Pies - Bristol

Pieminister secures £1.65m to tackle inflation and open new sites | Alys Key City A.M. December 18, 2017

DZ profile: Pieminister Limited

Business: pie business After opening a new Brixton site this month, two more will be added, taking the total number of restaurants and cafes to 16. Pieminister also serves its pies in pubs across the UK, caters for weddings, and has a home range sold through major supermarkets Ocado.

Launched: 2003

Location: Bristol

Founder: Co-founder Jon Simon

News: HSBC provided an additional £1.65m as the company to help expand capacity of its Bristol kitchen, which the company hopes will improve efficiencies and offset the impact of price inflation.



ANDY THORNTON: Furnishings - Yorkshire

UK salvage experts find growing market for ‘new antiques’ | Joshua Chaffin, FT. December 29, 2017

DZ profile: Andy Thornton Limited

Business: Supplying furniture, lighting and architectural metalwork to the retail, hospitality and restaurant sector.The company, named after its founder, has rescued treasures for more than 40 years, reselling them to those with a hunger for British heritage. But these days, with demand booming for vintage interiors, Andy Thornton now does a much bigger trade in supplying buyers with the next best thing to real antiques: new furnishings made to look old, i.e. freshly built chairs and tables …with… special paint and sanding to make them look as though they had been salvaged from a nearby factory or a New York loft. The finished items were destined for Microsoft’s new European headquarters in Dublin, a Jamie Oliver Italian restaurant in Vienna and other customers who favour a now ubiquitous “industrial chic” look.

Launched: 1978

Location: Elland, West Yorkshire

Founder: Andy Thornton

Staff: Lindsay Hepworth, chief buyer. Jerry Hodkinson, chief of marketing,

Financials: After flirting with bankruptcy five years ago, Andy Thornton’s revenue is expected to top £15m this year, its highest ever. Its new furnishings business accounts for about 90 per cent of that…


1. The roots of the Thornton salvage business go back to the 1970s, when entrepreneur Andy Thornton spotted that there was appetite in the US for the sort of Victoriana that had fallen out of favour in Britain. He and his wife bought a van and began racing around the north of England, where once-grand textile towns were ailing and littered with condemned buildings. Among his biggest customers were outfitters of Irish-themed pubs — particularly in the US but also as far afield as Scandinavia and Asia. There was plenty of merchandise to be had in the 1980s from British pubs undergoing mass renovations as they modernised to try to appeal to a wider clientele. Then churches began discarding pews, pulpits, organ fronts, fixtures and other items that could also be repurposed.

2. Around the turn of the century it began to ebb as a more minimalist style gained favour. Much of the salvage trade is now conducted online, where margins are tighter. But industrial chic has come to the rescue. Sometime after the 2008 financial crisis ...Instead of painstakingly sourcing industrial furniture, the company discovered that by manufacturing replicas it could supply larger quantities — 80 chairs, say — to customers such as restaurants.