A Kirklees company is set for further growth following a management buy-out.
YFM Equity Partners, one of the UK’s most active investors in small businesses, is providing funding to support the management buyout and future growth plans of specialist industrial acoustic engineering business Wakefield Acoustics in a £4m deal.
The MBO of the Cleckheaton-based firm is being led by Lee Nicholson who has more than 12 years’ experience in the business and will become managing director.
Chris Brown, current chairman of Thermal Energy Ventures, who has almost 25 years’ experience in the engineering sector, will join as non-executive chairman.
Mr Nicholson said: “We have ambitious plans for the business, which include developing and broadening the product range, consolidating our two current manufacturing facilities into a new facility in 2015 and delivering significant sales growth.
“Additional senior sales and engineering resource was recruited in 2014 to support these growth plans.”
The company said it planned to move locally, but could not confirm the location at present.
Wakefield Acoustics, which employs 40 people, designs, manufactures and installs a range of bespoke industrial and environmental noise control systems.
The business, founded in 1980, was acquired by Jane Dawson in 2005 and has recorded consistent growth in recent years – establishing a strong market position with leading blue chip engineering companies supplying sectors such as power, oil and gas, water waste and general manufacturing.
Jane Dawson will remain with the business. The other members of the MBO team are Paul Hebden, finance director; Kevin Dawson, operations director; and Rob Lomax, sales director.
The UK acoustics market is estimated at £300m in the UK and growing at 13% a year. Growth is being driven by tougher noise and environmental regulations worldwide along with the recent upturn in infrastructure investment.
Mr Nicholson said: “Given the strong market position we have established over 30 years, this is an exciting next step for the business which will enable us to remain at the forefront of industrial noise control technology, supporting our clients in addressing noise control legislation worldwide.
“We are looking forward to working closely with YFM Equity Partners and benefiting from their experience in helping to accelerate the further growth of our business.”
Ian Waterfield, investment director at YFM Equity Partners in Yorkshire, said: “We are backing a strong business in Wakefield Acoustics. 2015 will be a busy year for the team with a growing pipeline of business and consolidation of their manufacturing facilities into a new site.
“Management have ambitious growth plans and excellent experience and I am pleased that we are retaining the experience and support of Jane Dawson.”
Andy Miller, of Sentio Partners, advised Jane Dawson and the management team in relation to the transaction and introduced the deal to YFM Equity Partners.
Stephen Jarman, of Taylors Solicitors, provided legal advice to Jane and the management team. Paul Johnson and Sandip Khroud, of Irwin Mitchell, provided legal advice to YFM Equity Partners while Rob McCarthy, of Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services, provided financial due diligence and Patrick Allan, of Smith & Williamson, provided tax advice in relation to the transaction.
YFM Equity Partners has invested more than £50m – including 14 new investments – since September, 2013.