COMPANIES: Cammell Laird to Fundsmith

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on January 15, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other



Beer – Furniture - Shipyards - Online fashion - Video games

- Handbag maker - Fund management –

Menswear retailer


Toast | OKA £30m | Cammell Laird £94.5m | Blackbetty.Com | Playmob £500k | Lulu Guinness £9.5m | Fundsmith £82m | Richard James £10m


News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 7th – 13th January 2018:



TOAST: Beer - London

Tristram Stuart and a toast to bread and bitter | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. January , 2018.

DZ profile: Toast Ale Ltd

Business: social enterprise brewing with industrial quantities of bread to slash food waste  …..takes bread from sandwich manufacturers that do not use slices from the end of a loaf to a brewery in Driffield, East Yorkshire. Its range of beers includes pale ales and a lager.

Launched: 2015

Location: London

Founder: Tristram Stuart, 40, started campaigning against food waste as a teenager, feeding pigs unsold bread from his local bakery. While at Cambridge University, he said he “lived out of supermarket bins”, as the food thrown away was still good to eat.

Staff: 7

Investment: has raised £700,000 through crowdfunding and is looking for a further £400,000.

News: licenses its recipes to breweries around the world and gives 5% of revenue to local charities.



OKA: Furniture company - London

Aston Martin owner buys Oka, founded by Samantha Cameron's mum | John Collingridge, The Sunday Times. January 7, 2018.

DZ profile: Oka Direct Limited

Business: upmarket furniture company which started as a mail-order business and now has 14 shops in well-heeled corners of the UK. ….is patronised by celebrities including the model Naomi Campbell and the actor Eddie Redmayne. Its wares include cushions for £315 and £1,495 armchairs. It includes an interior design wing.

Launched: 1999

Location: Chelsea, west London

Founders: Samantha Cameron’s mother Lady Annabel Astor with designers Sue Jones and Lucinda Waterhouse.

Staff: Astor will stay on as a chairwoman, alongside chief executive Peter Taylor.

Financials: is on course to earn underlying profits of about £4m on £30m turnover this year.

Investment:  INVESTINDUSTRIAL, is believed to have paid more than £40m for Oka. Investindustrial, founded by Andrea Bonomi, a scion of the famous Italian industrial family, plans to expand Oka into America and sell more online. It targets upmarket brands and owns companies including the Italian shoe firm Sergio Rossi and pushchair maker Chicco. It plans a sale of Aston Martin, maker of 007’s car, which it co-owns with Kuwaiti investors. The sale will net a windfall for its owners, who include the Asprey jewellery family, the former Lloyds Bank chairman Sir Victor Blank and the investment office run by relatives of the James Bond creator Ian Fleming.



CAMMELL LAIRD: Shipyards - Merseyside

Profit swells at Cammell | The Sunday Times. January 7. 2018

DZ profile: Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited

Business: one of the country’s last big shipyards - specialises in Heavy Fabrication/Engineering projects in the commercial & military marine, and renewable energy sectors.

Launched: 1828

Location: Birkenhead, Merseyside

Founders: Scottish entrepreneurs William Laird and his son Joh

Staff: core production workforce 1000 strong, supported by administration and project personnel + additional 200 plus skilled workers from the local labour force.

Financials: has reported a big jump in annual profits … said the rise from £2.4m to £7.4m profit in the year to the end of March was thanks to currency hedging. Turnover dipped 5% to £94.5m. The company paid £5.9m in dividends to shareholders.

Investment: Property tycoon John Whittaker holds the biggest stake. Receivership 2001. Wikipedia: “A&P SHIPREPAIR GROUP sold its Birkenhead subsidiary to NORTHWESTERN SHIPREPAIRERS & SHIPBUILDERS (NSS) in 2005. PEEL HOLDINGS, owners of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and 50% owners of NSS, purchased the Cammell Laird shipyard site and surrounding land in January 2007, to facilitate the proposed Wirral Waters development. In 2008, NSS renamed itself Cammell Laird Shiprepairers & Shipbuilders Limited.”

News: The shipyard building the £200m polar research vessel RRS Sir David Attenborough. The research vessel became an unlikely star when Boaty McBoatface topped an online poll to choose its name. The vote was overruled by the government.


Cammell Laird ride Sir David Attenborough wave | John CollingridgeThe Sunday Times. January 27 2019

1. Sales increased 63% £154m in the year to the end of March helped by work on the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Despite the record turnover, currency fluctuations on hedging instruments drove it to a £1m loss from £7m profits the previous year.

2. Last October won two 10-year contracts to support the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA), worth £619m. It is bidding for work on new RFA support vessels, and has partnered with BAE Systems to bid for work on five new £250m warships, called the Type 31e.




BLACKBETTY.COM: Online fashion - London

Saracens boss in fashion fling | The Sunday Times. January 7. 2018

DZ profile: Blackbetty Limited

Business: website that helps designer brands liquidate excess stock at low prices. Black Betty acts like an online-only version of TK MAXX, although it is not allowed to name the brands it sells. It has a partnership with NETWORK 360, a European wholesaler of excess fashion goods.

Launched: 2016

Location: London

Founders: Phil Harwood and Krassimir Stankov

Investment: Saracens rugby club owner Nigel Wray has taken a stake. His investment takes the total raised by the fashion platform’s founders, to £2.5m. They hope to float the business this autumn and pursue acquisitions in Europe.



PLAYMOB: Video games - London

Entrepreneurs: Video-games pioneer answers the Call of Duty with a new way to help charities | Michael Bow, The Evening Standard. January 9, 2018.

DZ profile: Playmob Limited

Business: tech start-up which works with charities such as WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE, OXFAM and SAVE THE CHILDREN to develop mini-games themed on a charity campaign that pop up in popular hits like Angry Birds or can be played on a PC. The purpose is to teach gamers about issues ranging from climate change to mental health and cyber-bullying, a novel idea which is transforming the perception of the $100 billion games industry. The firm is trying to become a B-Corp, a company category for ethical firms, and may consider doing something on the Social Stock Exchange in future.

Launched: 2007

Location: Soho, London

Founder: Jude Ower MBE, 37, who grew up on a diet of Commodore 64 and Spectrum games.

Staff: 14. Chaired by Games Workshop co-founder and fantasy author Ian Livingstone

Financials: Turnover £500,000


1. Ower had seen the potential for video games to shape behaviour through her second business, which had helped the likes of BP, Shell and RBS train their staff to learn new tasks and techniques by getting them to play simulated games (her first had worked on education in schools). When the popular Facebook game Farmville — developed by ZYNGA — started selling virtual seeds to raise money for victims of the Haitian earthquake, Ower hit on the idea of Playmob. She spent some time at a tech accelerator boot camp in Cambridge refining the Playmob idea and another year developing it.

2. At first, it used the Farmville idea by helping to sell virtual items in video games to raise money for a charity. But then it moved into its present format, helping to create bespoke mini-games for charities by linking them up with game developers and publishers. It has worked with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s and Prince Harry’s ROYAL FOUNDATION to highlight the plight of the rhino in popular multi-player game RuneScape. The next stop is working more with socially conscious businesses such as Heineken and other consumer goods giants.



LULU GUINNESS: Handbag maker - London

Luxury fashion label Lulu Guinness bags sales growth | Joanna Bourke, The Evening Standard. January 9, 2018.

DZ profile: Lulu Guinness Holdings Limited

Business: Luxury handbag maker and accessories brand which is known for its lip-shaped bags and has 18 shops,

Launched: 1989

Location: Highgate, London

Founder: Lulu Guinness

Financials: saw sales between December 18 and January 2 increase by 25%. Turnover rose 4% to £9.5m, while pretax losses widened to £460,549 from a £89,678 loss.


1. The growth followed a series of investments into the label in the year to March 2017, including into IT and launching a debut shoes collection. It said it will continue to invest in the online business and has recently launched a clothing range which it plans to develop further “to broaden the appeal” of the brand.

2. … warned of a number of challenges it continues to face, including competition from rivals, exposure to currency fluctuations, and high occupancy costs for London shops.



FUNDSMITH: Fund management – London

City veteran Terry Smith bags £8 million after fund hits the heights | Michael Bow, The Evening Standard. January 10

DZ profile: Fundsmith Llp

Business: fund group His flagship vehicle the Fundsmith Equity Fund, launched in 2010, is one of Britain’s most popular sellers and drove the rising performance figures. The fund made a 30% return for investors in 2016/17, helped by top stock picks such as Microsoft and Paypal, taking total returns since 2010 close to 200%. Current assets weigh in at £13.4 billion, putting Smith alongside Neil Woodford as one of Britain’s biggest independent fund managers.

Launched: 2010

Location: London

Founder: Terry Smith, 64, one of the City’s best-known investors. Started his career as a bank analyst in the late eighties, is an outspoken critic of many City practices and like Buffett preaches a mantra of “buy and hold”, making long-term investments in a small number of stocks. 

Financials: Revenue nearly doubled to £82m from £42m last time, in tandem with assets under management, which swelled to over £11bn from £5.9bn. Smith received the lion’s share - at least £8m - of a £14.2m payout to five partners for the year ending March 2017, new accounts published on Tuesday show. The five partners sharing the windfall were Smith and his investment vehicle International Value, Mark Laurence, Simon Godwin and a vehicle owned by head of research Julian Robins.

News: Smith moved to Mauritius last year to get “away from the noise of London”. FUNDSMITH INVESTMENT SERVICES, a Mauritius-based administrative arm which works on stock selection and investment research, was paid £57.1m last year, up from £29m.



RICHARD JAMES: Menswear retailer - London

Secrets of my success: Sean Dixon, co-founder of Savile Row tailor Richard James | Sean Dixon, The Evening Standard. January 12, 2018

DZ profile: Richard James Commerce Ltd

Business: Savile Row tailor and luxury menswear retailer. Makes traditional sharp, tailored suits but is also known for its ready-to-wear collection and bolder prints. stockists such as SELFRIDGES, MR PORTER and LIBERTY to find out what is most in demand.

Launched: 1992

Location: London - two standalone shops in Savile Row and Clifford Street

Founders: Sean Dixon, managing director and Richard James: “we started the company with a £10,000 overdraft secured against our homes.”

Staff: 30 people in London, of whom six are designers and tailors

Financials: revenues of £10m last year

Investment: sold a majority stake to US property investor Charles S Cohen, who has plans to expand the business overseas. Both now have minority stakes.


1. will open our debut US store in New York by the end of February and will look to expand in the US and Asia after that.

2. “I love that we have loyal followers who love our designs. I remember one time that Liam Gallagher, Sir Elton John and former BP chief executive Lord Browne were all in our Savile Row shop at the same time. I don’t think there are many bosses who can say that.”