Management buyout at James Briggs

James Briggs, the leading supplier of aerosols and speciality chemicals, has been acquired by its management team in a deal backed by Endless LLP, the transformational investor in non-core assets and special situations.

The transaction sees Jim Sumner, an experienced Chief Executive in the manufacturing sector, join James Briggs as Executive Chairman. Sumner previously ran Optare plc, the AIM-listed bus manufacturer, and Leyland Trucks, part of PACCAR Inc. He will support James Briggs’ existing management team of Managing Director Mark Lyth and Finance Director Simon Tuley.

James Briggs employs nearly 200 staff on two manufacturing sites in Royton and Chadderton, near Oldham. The business was founded in 1830 and now has turnover approaching £50million. The firm designs, formulates and manufactures products including paints, lubricants, cleaning fluids and polishes for automotive, industrial, hygiene and other sectors. James Briggs brands include Hycote, Nilco, Autotek, Add-It and Antiquax.

The business has been acquired by management and Endless from ITW, a Fortune 200 global manufacturing specialist based in Illinois. As part of the deal, Endless will provide funding to invest in sales, marketing, infrastructure, manufacturing equipment and IT systems.

It is the latest investment by Endless into a non-core asset from a large group following the previous acquisitions of Crown Paints, Amco Group, Bathstore, Davy Markham and Acenta Steel.

Jim Sumner, Executive Chairman of James Briggs, said: “This is an exciting time to be joining James Briggs and the aerosol and chemicals industry. There is huge potential for the business to develop both its private label and branded businesses in UK and overseas markets. In addition, the capital being invested as part of the deal will improve the operational performance of the company and this, combined with investment in infrastructure and marketing, will allow the business to realise its full potential.”

Managing Director Mark Lyth said: “ITW’s decision to sell James Briggs presented the management team with a fantastic opportunity to lead a buyout of a business that is industry-leading and an essential part of the supply chain to many of its key customers. The board is delighted that Jim and Endless are joining James Briggs for the next phase of development at a time when we see huge opportunities on the global stage.”

Mathew Deering, Investment Director at Endless, who led the deal for the firm, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting another historic North West manufacturer. James Briggs has increased sales and profitability in recent years but it had become non-core to its parent company and this was naturally constraining its ability to fulfil its potential. Jim Sumner’s track record and knowledge perfectly complement the existing management team as we aim for strong growth in the coming years.”

James Briggs is the latestinvestment from Endless’s third fund, which was raised at £220million in summer 2011.

A team at KPMG’s Manchester office, led by partner Jonathan Boyers, advised ITW on the deal.  Steptoe & Johnson (Farzana Rao) provided legal advice to  ITW.  Squire Sanders (Giles Chesher) provided legal advice to Endless and tax advisory services were provided by PwC (Simon Viner and Stephen Woodhouse). Bridge Insurance provided insurance due diligence and Jim Sumner was advised by Simon Woolley of EOS Law.