COMPANIES: Richer Sounds to Yourgene

Published by Directorzone Markets Ltd on May 28, 2019, 9:00 am in News, Other

IMAGE: courtesy of Francesco Paggiaro from Pexels


housebuilder - supply chain finance - apparel retailer - HGV driver recruitment

- home entertainment retailer - pharmaceuticals –

biotechnology - restaurants - wage app


Surrey :: London x 4 :: Hertfordshire :: Gateshead :: Manchester :: Staffordshire


Croudace Homes £189.4m | Greensill Capital $101m | Cath Kidston £129.2m | H&G Recruitment Solutions £25.6m | Richer Sounds £157.5m | Shield Therapeutics £11.9m | Yourgene £8.9m | Parogon Pub Group £10.4m | Wagestream


News about 9 UK growth companies and/or accelerators + turnover in the GRID marketplace 12th – 25th May 2019:



CROUDACE HOMES: housebuilder - Surrey


Croudace Homes cashes in on Help to Buy | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. May 12, 2019

DZ profile: Croudace Homes Group Limited

Business: family-owned housebuilder which specialises in building family homes in towns within commuting distance of London. Has a coveted five-star customer satisfaction rating from the Home Builders Federation

Launched: 1946

Location: Surrey

Staff: chairman, Anthony Brotherton-Ratcliffe, 69, is retiring at the end of this year

Financials: Last year it sold nearly 500 homes, posting sales of £189.4m and pre-tax profits of £19.4m. It paid out a dividend of £2.4m and also expanded its high-end homes division. … has paid out more than £14m in dividends since the introduction of Help to Buy in 2013.

Investment: owned by the founding Brotherton-Ratcliffe family



GREENSILL CAPITAL: supply chain finance - London


SoftBank’s UK fintech swoop | The Sunday Times. May 12, 2019

DZ profile: Greensill Capital (UK) Limited

Business: supply chain finance company has since lent over $60bn (£46.2bn) to more than 8m customers. Has more than 1m small business clients in 50 countries. Greensill connects the businesses to investment banks and London’s capital markets. …with sometimes unconventional financing deals. In 2017 paid invoices worth $19.7bn to small companies around the world, typically industrial suppliers. The interest rate is about 1%.

Launched: 2011

Locations: London, New York, Chicago, Sydney, Frankfurt, Bremen and Mexico City

Founder: Lex Greensill, co-founder and chief executive

Staff: 180 staff

Financials: reported a profit of $25m for 2017 after revenues more than doubled to $101m.

Investment: Led by Masayoshi Son, SOFTBANK is close to striking a deal that would see it investing £500m to take a stake of between 15% and 20%, valuing Greensill at about £3bn. That would make it one of the UK’s most highly valued fintech firms.


1. Advised by David Cameron

2. The company financed GFG Alliance’s purchase of Britain’s last aluminium smelter from Rio Tinto in 2016, saving 150 jobs at the site in Lochaber, Scottish Highlands. …allowing GFG Alliance’s owner, Sanjeev Gupta, to set up Britain’s first alloy wheels factory at nearby Fort William. It will supply car makers such as Jaguar Land Rover from 2020.

3. The assets sold by Rio Tinto included two hydroelectric power plants. By securitising the cash stream from the hydro plants for 25 years, Greensill was able to provide both the acquisition capital and capital to fund the wheels factory. The Scottish government underwrote the cashflow. This was critical to the financial instrument getting a sovereign credit rating from Moody’s.



CATH KIDSTON: apparel retailer - London


Interview: Cath Kidston returns to the drawing board with Joy of Print | Sam Chambers, The Sunday Times. May 12 2019

DZ profile: Cath Kidston Group Limited

Business: British lifestyle brand in over 200 stores, 16+ different countries and online, selling bags, accessories, fashion and homeware.

in 218 shops in 14 countries

Launched: Kidston opened her first shop in 1993

Location: London

Founder: Cath Kidston, 60 moved from chief executive to creative director ….signed off her last print for the company in 2016

Financials: 2018 sales of £97.2m in the UK, up 6.9% on the previous 12 months made an operating loss of £19.6m last year — its biggest ever — blaming the delayed impact of the sterling slump after the Brexit vote. Annual results to the end of March 2017 - group sales £129.2m, up 8 per cent, driven by a 20 per cent rise in international sales to £42.3m and UK sales up 3 per cent to £87.7m; operating profit of £800,000, up from a loss of £2.1m in 2016.

Investment: sold a stake to US-based private equity firm TA Associates, which later sold to Hong Kong-based BARING PRIVATE EQUITY ASIA. Kidston holds a 10% stake


1. opened her first overseas store in Tokyo in 2006, all largely funded without debt. Despite the brand’s success in Japan, the move into China proved disastrous, forcing Baring to rip up its strategy after opening shops in the wrong locations. The owners are trying again through a franchise model.

2. Some shops have been closed, including in Bath, Chester and central London. …is eyeing a launch into America.

3. Kidston new venture - the JOY OF PRINT.



H&G RECRUITMENT SOLUTIONS: HGV driver recruitment - Hertfordshire


Charlotte Harper and Gail Radley, co-founders of H&G Recruitment: we got behind the wheel in hiring | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. May 12 2019

DZ profile: Harper & Guy Consulting Ltd (H&G Recruitment)

Business: recruitment firm which specialises in placing HGV drivers for customers ranging from SAINSBURY’S to Formula One teams.

Launched: 2003

Location: St Albans, Hertfordshire

Founders: Charlotte Harper, 48  and Gail Radley, 49. Radley is responsible for sales, while Harper runs the back office.

Financials: sales of £25.6m and pre-tax profits of £182,000 in the 12 months to March last year. Forecasting £30m revenues for this year.

Investment: Harper and Radley each own 50% of the firm



RICHER SOUNDS: home entertainment retailer - London


Richer Sounds founder hands business to staff | Jonathan Moules, FT. May 14, 2019

DZ profile: Richer Sounds Limited

Business: audio equipment chain of 53 stores nationwide.

Launched: 1978

Location: London

Founder: Julian Richer

Staff: 522

Financials: turnover excluding VAT of £157.5m in the 12 months to April 2018, 1 per cent up on the previous year, with a gross margin of 25.4 per cent

Investment: Julian Richer, the sole shareholder, has just announced that 60 per cent of his stake would be transferred into an employee-owned trust. The company will pay Mr Richer £9.2m for his shares but he will give £3.5m of that back to 522 staff, who will receive £1,000 for every year they have worked for the retailer. The company’s nine board members — the newest of which has served for 25 years — will not share in the bonus. Mr Richer said he planned to stay involved with the business, but would leave the day-to-day running to the management board.

News: Mr Richer has previously written in his will that he would like the company turned into a John Lewis-style employee-owned trust after he died. The Richer Sounds Trustee, as the new entity will be known, will have a set of principles that will ensure the business operates in a responsible manner, based on honesty, commitment, trust and respect, the company said. The company refuses to employ people on zero-hours contracts and donates about 15 per cent of operating profit to charity each year.



UK life science companies show signs of health | Andy Bounds and Chris Tighe, FT. May 18, 2019



SHIELD THERAPEUTICS: pharmaceuticals - Gateshead


DZ profile: Shield Therapeutics Plc

Business: pharmaceuticals company behind iron deficiency drug Feraccru. Feraccru, made in Northumberland, is approved in the EU for adults. US approval would enlarge the potential global market to £2.5bn. NB July 27 deadline for the US Food and Drug Administration decision whether to give approval to Feraccru’s sale in the US.

Launched: 2015

Location: Gateshead and London

Founder: Carl Sterritt, CEO.

Financials: to 31-Dec-18 – £11.9m turnover in 2018 (including £11m upfront payment from its licensing deal with Norgine, which markets Feraccru in Europe); £2.3m adjusted pre-tax loss revenue. 2017 (2016): £0.64m revenues (0.30); Pre-Tax -£21m (-15.60) according to the London Stock exchange web site.

Investment: AIM admission date - 26 Feb 2016

News: Its next product, PT20, an iron-based phosphate binder for treatment of a complication of advanced renal disease, is preparing for patient stage trials.



YOURGENE: biotechnology - Manchester


DZ profile: Yourgene Health Plc

Business: offers a non-invasive way of checking whether children have the genes that cause Downs syndrome after just 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Launched: 2000

Location: headquartered in Manchester, UK with offices in Taipei and Singapore.

Staff: CEO since July 2018, Lyn Rees

Financials: unaudited trading update for the year to March 31 showed revenues up 45 per cent to £8.9m from more than 30 countries. The adjusted pre-tax loss fell to £5.2m from £6.7m.

Investment: AIM admission date 31 Oct 2006


1. Complex history:  formerly PREMAITHA HEALTH plc (acquired 2014), formerly VIALOGY plc (founded 2006), formerly ORIGINAL INVESTMENTS plc, formerly BIOPROJECTS INTERNATIONAL plc, the company acquired Yourgene Bioscience - a Taiwanese company - in March 2017. Whilst under the Premaitha name, the company tried to sell the test with a genetic sequencing machine provided by THERMO FISHER. In 2015 ILLUMINA, a rival maker, sued Premaitha for patent infringement. Made a deal to license Illumina technology, opening up 60 per cent of the global market. Thermo Fisher swapped £13m of debt for a 9 per cent stake in the business.

2. In April 2019, bought fellow Manchester start-up ELUCIGENE, which has a cystic fibrosis test, for £9.2m.

3. ….has also moved into cancer testing in Taiwan and Mr Rees believes it can become a large provider of genetic screening and reproductive health services to a growing global middle class. NB



PAROGON PUB GROUP: restaurants - Staffordshire


Richard Colclough of Parogon: smoking ban helped our gastropubs thrive | Liam Kelly, The Sunday Times. May 19 2019

DZ profile: Parogon Pubs Holdings Limited

Business: group of six pubs in Staffordshire, with a further two in the pipeline

Launched: 2007

Location: Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire

Founder: Richard Colclough, 48, managing director, with 3 old school friends, now non-executive directors: James Keates, a solicitor; David Myers, who runs a hotel chain; and Phil Sharp, responsible for sourcing and managing properties.

Financials: sales of £10.4m and pre-tax profits of £414,000 in 2017

Investment: Each of the 4 invested £30,000 to open the first pub and each own 22.5% of the business, with 10% in the hands of operations director, Chris Childs.




WAGESTREAM: wage app - London


Fintech startup Wagestream picks up £15m from Balderton and Northzone | Emily Nicolle, City A.M. 20 May 2019

DZ profile: Wagestream Ltd

Business: social impact fintech startup which offers a flexible wage app that allows staff to draw down a percentage of their earned wages on any day of the month for a flat fee of £1.75, with no loan or interest charge involved. Wagestream: “It effectively ends the need for employee advances, loans and employee stress suffered from short term, unplanned financial obligations. Wagestream has been proven to improve employee retention by 40%.”Customers include RENTOKIL INITIAL, HACKNEY COUNCIL and DAVID LLOYD CLUBS.

Launched: 2018

Location: London

Founders: CEO Peter Briffett (ex COO of LeanWorks and YPLAN; ex-CEO of LIVINGSOCIAL) Portman Wills, CTO.

Financials: credit facility of up to £25m from SHAWBROOK BANK in at same time as the investment below

Investment: has today closed a £15m series A funding round, co-led by venture capital investors BALDERTON CAPITAL (backer of REVOLUT, CITYMAPPER and YOOX NET-A-PORTER) and NORTHZONE (early investor in SPOTIFY and IZETTLE). Existing investors include: FAIR BY DESIGN, LONDON CO INVESTMENT FUND, VILLAGE GLOBAL, QED INVESTORS.