Established in 1978, Amber Plastics is one of Europe’s leading rotational moulding companies producing products for a range of industries and markets, including construction, motor homes and healthcare.
In January 2015, Amber Plastics former owner decided to retire from the business and sell it. General Manager, now managing director, Tony Bunting contacted Mitchells for advice and guidance on a management buyout of the business.
Mitchells’ partner, Tim Leeman guided Tony throughout the buyout process, which included:
- Advising on the value of the company and brokering this with the vendor
- Providing all the financial modelling required by funders
- Advising upon the detailed deal structure to facilitate the acquisition
- Providing the necessary tax advice
Tim said of the purchaser, “Tony was the perfect purchaser of Amber Plastics as he was already working within the business at the senior level and it meant a seamless change of ownership.”
Here, Tony Bunting details the practical support and help that Mitchells provided to enable him to purchase the multimillion pound business…
Why did you choose Mitchells to work with?
I approached Mitchells after they had been involved in a business dealing with the company back in 2008, so I knew they were professional and on hand to help me with advice and guidance. I knew that the team at Mitchells were both approachable and had the knowledge and skills to get me the best finance deal.
Who identified that you could buy out the business?
The previous Director and owner of the company was planning on retiring and he approached me in my capacity as general manager and asked if I’d be interested in purchasing the business. Being able to purchase a successful business that I had been involved with for 27 years seemed like a positive move. I was already knowledgeable in the operations of the company as I began my career with the business as a machine operator and then worked my way up. I know how each role is vital to the business and I know how important it is for a new Director to know about the industry he or she is entering.
Why was RBS approached for funding?
Tim and I looked long and hard at the numbers and projections and went through all the ‘what if’ scenarios for the business. Once we were confident, Mitchells identified that RBS already had interests in the manufacturing sector and so approached the bank for funding on my behalf. Once we’d agreed a three-year plan for the business and Mitchells had provided all the financial modelling, RBS offered us the right terms and agreed the finance package.
How straightforward was the purchase?
Because it was a ‘friendly-buyout’, i.e. I already worked within the company within a senior role,
Mitchells was able to access all the accounts and call on the previous owner whenever any information was required throughout the buyout process. Normally, with a business sale, there would be a protracted period of due-diligence but because Mitchells had ready access to the financial records of the business, the process of gaining finance and arranging the sale were far simpler.
What does the purchase of Amber Plastics mean to you?
The initial feeling was ‘at last’ when I signed on the dotted line. First and foremost I have been able to secure all the jobs within the company. Another buyer from outside the area could have potentially taken over and moved the business to another location. It remains a Chesterfield-based, family-owned business for the foreseeable future. I have two daughters who, I hope in the future, may consider a career in Amber Plastics.
The business as it stands is solid and profitable however we have a three-year growth plan in place that will see us increase staff numbers by 25% and get Amber Plastics back to pre-2008 production levels.