Some of our recent success stories

11th March 2016

As a Leonard Curtis Lifecycle member, you join a new and unique network for accountants brought to you by Leonard Curtis Business Solutions Group. It lets you offer the full range of specialist services of Lifecycle to your clients that they need at every stage of their business’s life, including equity finance.

Here are some recent success stories from Lifecycle’s equity specialist partner, Aqvvs Capital.

R Etchells and Sons

Aqvvs Capital is delighted to have successfully sourced investment for R.Etchells and Sons from HLD Group. HLD Group, the Maltese based Industrial Group, with a number of UK businesses, has successfully invested in the business through Aqvvs Capital.

  1. Etchells and Sons is a long established manufacturer and installer of domestic fireplaces and bathroom furniture, predominantly to the social housing sector.

Managing Director, Darren Etchells, commented “like many owner managed businesses, we had reached a pivotal period in our lifecycle. Trading was difficult because of financial and operational constraints, yet we have an enviable customer base who were looking for increased product volumes and service. Not knowing where to turn for help, I was introduced to Paul at Aqvvs Capital who quickly assessed our situation and needs.

From their large network of hands on, sector specific, investors, HLD Group were identified as the perfect partner for our business. Whilst the funding has certainly eased the financial pressure we were facing, it is the additional expertise and business network brought by HLD that have made the biggest difference to our fortunes. The future looks really promising”.

Demis Ohandjanian, CEO of HLD Group, said “Etchells is a highly regarded, well established business that was experiencing a difficult phase in its history. Paul from Aqvvs did a good job in getting us together as he knew we already had Cavalier Group within our business stable that designs and manufactures bathroom product. Our timely investment has not only safeguarded the future of Etchells but we now have a plan in place with Darren to accelerate the growth and profitability of the business over the next 3 years. All stakeholders in the business will ultimately benefit”.

Dukes of London

Aqvvs Capital is delighted to have successfully sourced investment for Dukes of London from Agathos PE.
Agathos, the London-based Private Equity Firm, has successfully invested in Dukes of London and Dukes Asia through Aqvvs Capital.
Dukes is a specialist provider of promotional goods and merchandise to major corporations worldwide. The company will continue to be run by its founder and CEO, Douglas Grays, and Stuart Shepherd, Sales Director.

Jonathan Steinberg the Part-Time CFO of Dukes commented: “When it was decided that Dukes needed additional investment funding to support the next phase of its growth, Aqvvs was an obvious choice.  Aqvvs have a comprehensive range of potential investors, each with their own investment criteria and Aqvvs understands these differences. The Aqvvs team were able to quickly appraise our situation and requirements and make the right introduction to the right partner, in this case Agathos.

We are all pleased to have Agathos on board with their deep operational experience and want to thank Alex and his colleagues for their guidance and support”.

Agathos will provide strategic direction and operational support to the management team and Ray Peck, will join the company as Chairman bringing with him a wealth of experience in the sector.

Ray Peck, commented: “The investment will give Dukes a strong base from which to grow. The move now cements Dukes as not only as a strong, thriving business but it also will give the business the opportunity to further expand its footprint globally.”

Douglas Grays, CEO of Dukes commented: “We are delighted to have Agathos on board. Their expertise in helping the business grow will support our continued expansion in Europe and Asia”.

Over the last 5 years Dukes Asia has become one of the leading promotional product distributors in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region capitalising on demand from global brands in the region.

Through its established bases in London and Asia and its connection with partners in North America Dukes has proved its ability to win significant global contracts. The Agathos team will bring specialist expertise and resource as well as the finance required to take the company to the next level.

William de Laszlo, Agathos founding partner, said “We are excited about the future and the opportunity for potential complementary acquisitions. Dukes has built an exceptional reputation for delivering valuable expertise and merchandise to some of the world’s biggest companies and we share their entrepreneurial vision for the business’ future.”

Precast Concrete Products

Aqvvs was introduced to a business that produced concrete cills and lintels primarily for the house building sector. Turnover was around £3m.

The business was suffering due to the downturn in the housing market and during a difficult trading period, the FD sadly passed away.

A decision was made to take on a large contract associated with providing concrete barriers for the Olympic Village which was low margin and ultimately took away the primary focus of the business.

HMRC arrears of £275k were built up and other creditor pressure was building.

Unfortunately, the business had to go through an insolvent restructure via Administration but Aqvvs was able to introduce an equity investor that was happy to invest into the new company.

“Original management were able to obtain a shareholding in the new company which now is trading close to £4m turnover with a 15% net margin. 60 jobs were saved during the process.”

Steel Pipe Fabricator

We were introduced to a family owned business that was well established and which manufactured, installed and maintained pipework for the brewing sector.

Turnover had dropped from £1.8m to £1.3m as a result of the recession. Customer orders had dropped significantly. This had resulted in a debt to HMRC of nearly £300k and pressure was building.

Management were preparing themselves for an insolvency but Aqvvs detected a fundamentally sound business that was beginning to turn the corner.

Aqvvs introduced two potential investors that had expertise within the wider fabrication sector.

A deal was concluded whereby the investor injected monies to clear the HMRC debt in return for a 50% equity stake.

“The business is now trading profitably and the investor has opened up the business to new trading opportunities. Original management have a clearer picture of where the business is going and are pleased with the outcome.”

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