COMPANIES: Dialight to Mintec

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on January 22, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other


Thursday February 14th 2019


Thursday February 14th 2019


Food data - Travel insurer - Auto telematics - Holiday planners

- Tile retailer - LED lighting -

Space Drones 


Mintec | Allclear Insurance Services £12.9m | Wejo | Travel Counsellors £188m | Tile Mountain £11m | Dialight £182.2m | Effective Space


News about 7 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 14th -20th January 2018:



MINTEC: Food data - Buckinghamshire

Czech emigre Vladimir Peksa in £30m sellout of Mintec to Synova | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. January 14 2018

DZ profile: Mintec Limited

Business: food data business, whose clients include TESCO, UNILEVER and US supermarket chain ALBERTSONS

Launched: 1982. The company sells information about almost all of the food ingredients that are not traded on exchanges to more than 400 retailers, food manufacturers and suppliers.

Location: Buckinghamshire

Founder: Vladimir Peksa, 72, a Czech who came to Britain on a student visa more than 35 years ago to escape communism. Peksa came up with the idea for Mintec while head of cocoa research at the confectionery giant Mars.

Staff: Tony Pauley, an American who previously worked at the consultancy firm Mercer, was appointed chief executive in 2016. It is understood that Synova is backing him in a buyout of Mintec from the Peksa family.

Investment: Peksa owns 60% of the shares in the company, which paid a £1m dividend in 2016. City sources said had agreed to sell to the private equity firm SYNOVA CAPITAL for an estimated £30m.




Private equity house Synova bags travel insurer AllClear | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. January 14 2018

DZ profile: Allclear Insurance Services Limited

Business: specialises in providing affordable insurance to travellers who are over 55 and have serious medical conditions. The company operates in the UK, Ireland and Australia

Launched: 2001

Location: Romford, Essex

Founders: Mike Rutherford and Chris Wacey, both 69,  former insurance brokers

Financials: Last year it made a pre-tax profit of £286,000 after turnover rose by one third to £12.9m.

Investment: The founders own a majority of the shares

News: impending £30m sale of their company to the buyout firm SYNOVA, may look to expand into other countries.

Rutherford and Wacey are to remain as non-executive directors at AllClear after the takeover. They are expected to retain a small stake in the company.



WEJO: Auto telematics - Chester

Chester-based Wejo in £25m driverless cash boost | Peter Evans, The Sunday Times. January 14 2018

DZ profile: Wejo Limited

Business: Smartphone-based telematics platform. Its technology collects messages from thousands of sensors in modern vehicles, which can be used to predict breakdowns, analyse collisions and monitor a car’s impact on the environment. It has been used to analyse 40bn miles of driving data from 3.5m cars. The company’s platform acts as a data exchange for manufacturers, insurers and other third parties.

Launched: 2013

Location: Chester

Founder: Richard Barlow and Mohamed Ali.

Staff: more than 100 ….has appointed Tim Lee, former head of General Motors in China, as its chairman.

Investment: has raised £5m from private investors to prepare for an explosion in “connected” vehicles, including driverless cars. …has raised £25m since it was established four years ago. Wejo will use the latest funds to hire more data scientists and invest in its technology.

News: Soaring production of electric cars and, potentially, the introduction of driverless vehicles will lead to a huge upsurge in the number of connected cars in the next five years. Makers including Ferrari, Volkswagen and BMW are all developing autonomous vehicles.



TRAVEL COUNSELLORS: Holiday planners - Manchester

Personal holiday planner Travel Counsellors up for sale | Ben Harrington, The Sunday Times. January 14 2018

DZ profile: Travel Counsellors Limited

Business: works with freelance advisors to plan trips. Travel Counsellors now has 1,700 agents, who help customers plan cruises, honeymoons and trips to locations such as Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Mauritius.

Launched: 1987

Location: Manchester

Founder: David Speakman

Financials: had revenue of £188m in 2016

Investment: Speakman sold to the buyout firm EQUISTONE in 2014 for £100m. ….would be worth between £150m and £200m in a sale.

News: A website that connects holidaymakers with freelance advisers to plan bespoke trips could fetch up to £200m.

The private equity owner of has appointed the investment bank Rothschild to sell, float or refinance the business, according to City sources.



TILE MOUNTAIN: Tile retailer - Stoke-on-Trent

How Mo Iqbal went from floor sweeping to Tile Mountain king | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. January 14 2018

DZ profile: Tile Mountain Limited

Business: Tile Mountain has done away with the costly network of bricks-and-mortar stores of its rivals, “which we channel back into our pricing”. Its prices can be half those of the store chains, Iqbal claimed. It opened a new warehouse, showroom and office last year

Launched: 2013

Location: Stoke-on-Trent

Founder: Mo Iqbal with Nick Ounstead — chief executive of Topps for five years — and Jeremy Harris. The friends are all former executives at TOPPS TILES, the listed chain. They used £4m of savings to get started.

Financials: In the year to December 2016, Tile Mountain made a pre-tax profit of £386,000 on sales of £8.8m. 2017 sales are expected to exceed £11m.

News:  Iqbal struck out on his own after falling out with Topps’s management over a merger and the axing of a bonus scheme in 2002. Two years later, he bought a pair of ailing TILE GIANT shops in Preston for £14,000, returning to work on the shop floor. Iqbal built Tile Giant into a 32-store chain, which he sold to builder’s merchant TRAVIS PERKINS in 2007, pocketing £15m from the sale with his fellow investors. He left four years later. Today, Tile Giant is the UK’s second-biggest tile retailer, after Topps.



DIALIGHT: LED lighting - Suffolk

Dialight needs a lightbulb moment to restore fortunes | Kate Burgess, FT. January 15, 2018

DZ profile: Dialight Plc

Business: designer of next-generation LED technology powered by semi-conductors. LEDs, or light emitting diodes….specialises in putting beacons on telecoms masts and lighting up hazardous industrial sites such as multistorey warehouses and wind turbines

Launched: 1938

Location: Newmarket, Suffolk

Staff: Martin Rapp, new chief executive

Financials: It has no debt and gross margins exceeding 40 per cent. Year to 31-Dec-16: Revenue £182.2m; Pre-Tax -£3.8m.

Investment: Dialight shares have halved, from £12 in 2012, when Dialight was in the FTSE 250, to 620p.


1. Dialight says LED has penetrated less than 5 per cent of the lighting market and it supplies a third of industrial usage. That is before stepping into Europe or Asia, the fastest-growing markets for LED lighting. However, LED is low tech with low barriers to entry. Dialight competes against multinationals with resources to churn out innovations. LED lighting has become more mainstream, so the price of products have fallen — by some 85 per cent since 2008, according to US reports.


UK supply-chain groups focus on growth opportunities | Michael Pooler, FT. January 11, 2019

2. a move to outsource its manufacturing to a contractor in Mexico went wrong. ....resulting in delays to customer orders  ....led to the replacement of its chief executive a year ago. Pre-tax profit dropped 30 per cent to £2.8m in the first six months of 2018, while revenue declined 14 per cent to £80.1m. Following a reversal of policy, the company said all production have now been moved in-house to its own facilities. House broker Investec forecast pre-tax profit of £7.7m on revenue of £170m for the full year.

3. …. the stock remains a long way off the heights of about £11 touched before its outsourcing nightmare began. Once a member of the FTSE 250, Dialight today has a market capitalisation of just under £130m.



EFFECTIVE SPACE: Space Drones - London

Space drones to extend life of ageing satellites | Clive Cookson, FT. January 17, 2018

DZ profile: Effective Space Solutions Limited

Business: aims to give ageing communications satellites a new lease of life by launching small space vehicles to dock with the craft in orbit and control them once they have run out of fuel. The Space Drone will remain attached to its target satellite for as long as the operator wants to keep it active. Typical life extension is expected to be five years.

Then the Space Drone will decommission the satellite — placing it in a safe “graveyard orbit” — and move on to dock with a new target. Each craft could undertake several rescue or servicing missions during its 15-year design life.

The technology behind Effective Space originated in Israel, where its research centre is located, but the company has set up its headquarters in the UK, where development, manufacturing and satellite operations will be based. Existing British space technology companies such as QINETIQ, OXFORD SPACE SYSTEMS and NEPTEC are expected to contribute to its work.

Launched: 2015

Location: London

Staff: Daniel Campbell, managing director


1. has signed a $100m contract to extend the life of two satellites for a large communications operator, which will be announced soon. In 2020 it will send two of its Space Drone craft into geostationary orbit 36,000km above the Earth, to attach themselves to the satellites and keep them correctly oriented for up to five years.“

2. Joanne Wheeler, a space lawyer at the international law firm Bird & Bird, said: “The UK Space Agency (UKSA) has done a lot to attract innovative companies like Effective Space to the UK.” She regards Britain’s space legal and financial infrastructure as the best in Europe and ahead of other countries trying to attract new space companies such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands.