COMPANIES: Animal Dynamics to SA Brain

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on July 23, 2018, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Daniyal Ghanavati on Pexels: dragonflies



brewery and pub group - electric vehicles - fermented milk drink - cake maker

- e-payments - autonomous paraglider - plastic products –

packaging machinery


Cardiff x 2 :: Essex :: London x 2 :: Oxford :: Yorkshire :: Coventry


SA Brain £123.3m | Tevva Motors | Bio-tiful Dairy £4.2m | Finsbury Food Group £303.6m | PPRO | Animal Dynamics | Carclo | MPAC £57m


News about 8 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 15th -21st July 2018:



SA BRAIN: brewery and pub group - Cardiff

Brexit leaves bitter taste for brewer SA Brain | Sabah Meddings, The Sunday Times. July 15 2018

DZ profile:  S.A. Brain & Company Limited

Business: family-owned brewery and group of more than 200 pubs, inns and hotels behind beers such as The Rev James and SA. The biggest brewing company in Wales.

Launched: 1882

Location: Cardiff

Founders: Samuel Arthur Brain and his uncle Joseph Benjamin Brain

Financials: sales of £123.3m in the year to September 2017, down 9% from £135.4m in 2016. Loss of £6.6m (£3.2m profit in 2016) attributed to one-off costs from a new head office and brewery.


1. has blamed Brexit uncertainty and the loss of a key brewing contract with Heineken for a slump in sales.

2. New chief executive: Alistair Darby, former boss of listed pub group Mitchells & Butler

3. …has moved to trim costs by cutting staff and selling eight pubs in England to BUTCOMBE BREWERY.



TEVVA MOTORS: Electric Vehicles - Essex

Meet Asher Bennett, the Essex Elon Musk | Robert Watts, The Sunday Times. July 15 2018

DZ profile: Tevva Motors Limited

Business: Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturer with customers that include delivery service UPS. Tevva’s innovation is a petrol or diesel-powered range extender, which allows lorries to stay on the road once the electric battery has worn down. The electric-only range is 100 miles.

Launched: 2013

Location: Chelmsford, Essex

Founder: Asher Bennett, 49, who spent six years in the Israeli navy, learnt about the battery technology while manning British-built submarines during his training. Made money from a cyber-security start-up in Israel.

Investment: raised start-up capital from individual investors and a cornerstone investment from ANGEL COFUND, part of the Government-owned BRITISH BUSINESS BANK. Has just raised £10m investment from an Indian firm, BHARAT FORGE LIMITED (BFL) - valueing Tevva at about £30m – which will be used to develop the technology and expand into India. BFL is part of the KALYANI GROUP, a conglomerate with multi-sectoral interests,



BIO-TIFUL DAIRY: fermented milk drink - London

Thanks, Dragons, but I’ll stick to my drink, says Natasha Bowes of Bio‑tiful Dairy | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. July 15 2018

DZ profile: Bio-tiful Dairy Limited

Business: makes kefir, a tangy fermented milk that is popular in her native Russia. Bio-tiful’s kefir is stocked by most big supermarkets and more than 130,000 bottles are sold each week. The company has added smoothies to its range

Launched: 2012

Location: Kensington, London

Founder: Natasha Bowes, 42. Master’s in finance at Lomonosov Moscow State University. Ex-KPMG - in Moscow and Ireland – and Barclays. Then set up a financial consultancy with her then husband, quitting in 2012. Used £130,000 of savings, went to Moscow to buy books on how to make kefir, found a organic dairy farm in West Sussex to supply milk and got her orders with FORTNUM & MASON, SELFRIDGES and HARRODS in 2013.

Staff: 14

Financials: last year reported pre-tax profits of £800,000 on sales of £4.2m

Investment: in early 2016 an investor paid about £1m for a minority stake. Said no to Deborah Meaden’s offer of £250,000 for a 45% stake on Dragons’ Den in 2015. Bowes still has a majority stake in the business.



FINSBURY FOOD GROUP: cake maker - Cardiff

Finsbury Food shares slide as revenue takes a hit from bakery closures | Alys Key, City A.M. 16 July 2018

DZ profile: Finsbury Food Group Plc

Business: makes cakes and other food products under licensed brands such as Disney and Thorntons

Launched: 1925

Location: Cardiff

Staff: Chief executive John Duffy

Financials: group revenue for the year ended 30 June declined 3.4 per cent to £303.6m due to the closure of some bakeries in the first half of the year. On a like for like basis, UK sales revenue grew 2.8 per cent and overseas revenue reduced by 0.7 per cent.

Investment: Listed on AIM in February 2007

News:  Last year said it would close its loss-making Grain D'Or bakeries, which made pastries and muffins in London.

UK bakeries count on Easter treats to boost growth | Andy Bounds and Chris Tighe, FT. April 20, 2019

1. This Easter, Finsbury Food will produce 66m hot cross buns ... One of Britain’s largest speciality bakery groups ...Finsbury supplies supermarket chains with own brand cakes and other baked goods and makes children’s character ranges, including Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol and Disney. Finsbury has a niche in cakes, artisan breads and, increasingly, the much faster growing “free from” sector that taps into the rising popularity of vegan and gluten free products.

2. In the six months to December 29, Finsbury closed lossmaking bakeries but also completed its £20m acquisition of Poland-based “free from” company ULTRAPHARM. Total group revenue was down 3.5 per cent to £152m; adjusted pre-tax profit was at £8.3m.



PPRO: e-payments - London

Paypal plugs $50m into London paytech PPRO | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 16 July 2018 

DZ profile: Ppro Financial Ltd (PPRO) 

Business: cross border e-payments tech firm

Launched: 2006

Location: London

Staff: around 200

Investment: today announced a $50m (£37.9m) investment round, led by PAYPAL, from CITI VENTURES and existing investor HPE GROWTH CAPITAL. Has raised just over $10m since it was founded.


1. hopes to use the funds to power further international expansion of its payments platform and alternative payments acquiring business, where it powers methods like bank transfers, e-wallets and cash-based payments on a merchant’s behalf.

2. The move marks another strategic investment for Paypal, after its recent acquisition of payments company IZETTLE in May just before the startup was due to go public. PPRO recently signed a commercial agreement with Paypal to provide a range of payment options for merchants through its new Smart Payment buttons at the checkout stage of a transaction.



ANIMAL DYNAMICS: autonomous paraglider - Oxford

UK trials unmanned systems to supply troops on the front line | David Bond, FT. July 19, 2018

DZ profile: Animal Dynamics Limited

Business: UK engineering start-up spun out of OXFORD UNIVERSITY that has designed Stork - an unmanned paraglider inspired by bird flight. …other projects include a micro-drone called Skeeter, inspired by the biology of a dragonfly. Stork, a three or four wheeled vehicle,  takes off using a propeller which drives the storage frame forward, inflating a giant, crescent shaped wing. Once airborne it can glide or use the propeller. Stork can carry up to 100kg of supplies, such as water, food and munitions, over a distance of 100km. Stork’s inventors said the paraglider offered the military a less fuel intensive option compared with drones that resemble helicopters.

Launched: 2015

Location: Kidlington, Oxford

Founders: Alex Caccia, CEO and Adrian Thomas - one of the UK’s leading academics in the field of biomechanics and aerodynamics and a British paragliding champion

Investment: Has been funded with a 2017 £1.5m grant from the UK Ministry of Defence, via DEFENCE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY LAB (DSTL) - £1.5m Grant in 2017 - and early Stage funding from PARKWALK ADVISORS Ltd in 2015.

News: Stork is one of five unmanned transport systems chosen by the British government’s DSTL for assessment by soldiers during a four week exercise on Salisbury Plain in November. ….each will receive £750,000 from the government to continue developing their ideas with a decision due next year. The others include 3 British companies: QINETIQ with a robot on tracks called Titan; BARNARD MICROSYSTEMS with a fixed wing drone; HORIBA MIRA with a truck named the Viking. The only overseas design selected is one by the Finnish company FLEETONOMY, backed by French aerospace and defence group THALES to develop an autonomous quadcopter.



Niche manufacturers benefit from global outlook | Michael Pooler, FT. July 20, 2018


CARCLO: plastic products - Yorkshire

DZ profile: Carclo Plc

Business: two main areas of activity:

1.  Technical Plastics division does injection moulding of high-precision consumable products for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, such as pipettes for blood testing machines.

2. LED Technologies unit designs and manufactures high-end LED lighting systems for supercar brands, such as ASTON MARTIN, BENTLEY, MCLAREN and BUCATTI.

Launched: 1924 - founded as a manufacturer of card clothing for combing of textile fibres before spinning

Location: Ossett, West Yorkshire

Financials: annual profit fell 21% due to delays in contract awards from major customers and weak operational performance. Shares to sank by more than one-third. …market capitalisation of £82.8m.

Investment: small-cap, Main Market, London Stock Exchange

News: has received an unsolicited takeover offer from CONSORT MEDICAL, a UK-based drug and delivery device supplier.



MPAC: packaging machinery - Coventry

DZ profile: Mpac Group Plc

Business: niche engineering group that sells high-speed packaging machinery to large companies in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, nutrition and beverage sectors.

Launched: 1874

Location: Coventry, UK; Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; Wijchen, The Netherlands; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore

Founder: Jose S Molins, who began making cigars and hand-rolling cigarettes in Havana

Staff: 350 worldwide

Financials: this week gave a gloomy trading update and downgraded its profit forecast by £1.2m …blamed on cost overruns from two legacy contracts. Market capitalisation of £30.5m Forecast profit of £1.4m before tax and amortisation this year, on sales of £57m.

Investment: Aim-quoted since 2014

News: in 2017 sold its tobacco processing machinery business for £30m and changed its name from Molins.