Category Archives: Corporate Finance

BREXIT – An Opportunity To Plan

shutterstock_439389007It is impossible to avoid the endless debate and commentary on what the future holds for the UK following last week’s vote. Businesses will undoubtedly be affected but SME owners should use this opportunity to review their plans for the future and consider the options they have available to them. Those with growth plans should not put these on hold but ensure they have made themselves aware of any issues that leaving the EU may give rise to.

Having spoken to a number of banks, the fear they have is that businesses will not want to take on additional borrowings for the foreseeable future. This seems absurd when they are keen to lend. Businesses should keep in regular contact with their bank and discuss their plans with them. They will more often than not be supportive.

The availability of debt presents an excellent opportunity to those business owners who are planning to sell in the next few years. This may have been originally based upon a sale to a third party. However, the current uncertainty will probably lead to a reduction in the number of potential trade buyers and will have an impact on the multiples buyers are willing to pay. A Management Buy Out (MBO) could be the obvious answer.

There will be a number of businesses that have a management team in place, that given the opportunity to undertake a MBO, will jump at the chance. The message to the owners of these businesses is start talking to the management team NOW!

For those businesses that do not have the necessary management structure for a MBO, the current economic climate gives them time to plan and put the required team in place. This requires careful consideration and the requisite advice should be obtained as part of this process.

Therefore, business owners who want an exit in the short to mid-term, should seriously consider if an MBO is an option. If it is, then speak to your bank or your adviser. I have been involved in a significant number of MBOs and PM+M Corporate Finance are currently advising on a number of MBOs. Therefore if you want to pick our brains on the subject, please feel free to give us a call.

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner 
Jim Akrill – Corporate Finance Partner 

How To Make Your MBO Successful

shutterstock_72605086I was struck recently when reviewing recent MBOs just what a wide range of industries were being covered. And not just traditional, asset rich businesses either. There were several professional service businesses too which can be much more of a challenge when trying to secure funding.

This led me to think again about what makes a good MBO opportunity. A complete and competent management team, a growth story and a flexible seller willing to do a deal which is affordable. Tick these three boxes and you are on your way.

Moreover, general optimism about the economy combined with an increasing number of older business owners looking to retire has created a favourable climate for MBOs.

Only one thing left then. A quality team of advisors. Contact “The Real Deal” Team. To find out more about the PM+M Corporate Finance team visit or contact:

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner (
Jim Akrill – Corporate Finance Partner (

PM+M Client WEC Group Limited Acquire HTA Group

shutterstock_234197374Last week saw the completion of the multimillion pound acquisition of HTA Group by PM+M client WEC Group Limited. The acquisition will enable Lancashire-headquartered WEC Group to continue to dominate the UK’s laser cutting and fabrication sector.

Wayne Wild, commercial director of the family-owned WEC Group, said: “This is an exciting new chapter for HTA Group, its workforce and its present and future customers.”

“HTA’s partnership with WEC Group will create a major new force in the UK’s laser cutting and fabrication sector and allows both companies to offer more to our customers.”

“Continuous investment in new technology and in our workforce has been the hallmark of the WEC Group’s success and we’re delighted to welcome HTA into our growing family. It’s a really great fit for our business.”

“As another family run company we’re aware of the name HTA has forged for itself and its reputation for high quality work, service and delivery. Our aim is to build on that.”

“Both companies share the same values of continuous investment, commitment to training and a strong belief in customer care. That’s why we believe this new partnership is right for both businesses.”

“The expanded group makes us one of the largest laser cutting and fabrication operations in the UK. It means we can offer more services and skills to our customers.”

Jim Akrill, Corporate Finance Partner at PM+M, provided commercial advice, comprehensive deal support and financial due diligence to ensure the deal was completed satisfactorily. Jane Parry, PM+M Managing Partner, also advised on the complex tax matters surrounding the acquisition. Forbes Solicitors provided legal advice throughout the deal.

Preparation Is Key


shutterstock_276798482Your business represents a lifetime of blood, sweat and tears so when the time comes to sell it you need to make sure that you are ready. You may feel that you are not ready to sell but if you’re planning for the future you need to start adding value to your business now.

The more time you spend preparing your business for sale, the better the outcome will invariably be. It is important that you can demonstrate two to three years of strong trading performance together with a maintainable profit stream.

Unresolved issues can be a deal breaker and can range from complex company ownership or who owns intellectual property rights, through to unreliable management systems. In your preparation for sale it is vital that you consider any potential deal breakers and try to resolve them before selling.

Effective and efficient planning will allow the sale of your business to progress in a controlled manner and having an advisor to provide advice and support throughout the sale of your business, will help you to achieve your goals.

For more information on selling your business, please click button below.


SME Values On The Rise


Recent data indicates that multiples being paid for SME businesses is increasing. Clearly this includes a large range of deal sizes and different industry sectors, but this is excellent news for business owners considering their exit options. The Small and Medium Enterprises Valuation Index issued by the UK200 Group indicates the mean P/E (Price / Earnings) multiple was 9.6 at November 2015 compared to 7.3 at November 2014.

Achieving a successful disposal requires planning to ensure the business is well positioned to achieve its full value. In general the longer the length of time available to plan for a sale, the better the outcome. There are however a number of areas within a business which may only require a few simple changes, that in turn lead to a significant increase in the value achieved on a sale.

Expert advice should be obtained on the areas to consider when there is a relatively short amount of time available before selling. These simple changes can increase the overall value of the business without impacting on the day to day operations. When you consider that many businesses sell on the basis of a profitable multiple, a £1 increase in after tax profit equates to an increase in potential value of £9.60 based upon the above P/E average.

There are currently many trade buyers with cash resources, who are looking to make acquisitions. Furthermore there are debt and equity providers with funds that require lending and investing. The combination of these are leading to more potential buyers and so if you are thinking about your exit strategy, my advice is…

Get on with it.

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner

Family businesses often give rise to issues and opportunities not found in other companies. The PM+M Corporate Finance team are hosting a seminar to provide you with valuable information and simple, adaptable methods to increase the value of your business, whilst overcoming family and non-family issues.

Date: Wednesday 20 April 2016
Time: 8am – 9am (breakfast will be included)
Venue: PM+M, Greenbank Technology Park, Challenge Way, Blackburn, BB1 5QB

To book a place on this seminar, please email or call the Marketing team on 01254 679131.

Funding – A Changing Landscape


Many of us are aware that the funding landscape is changing. There are a now a wide number of funding options and providers. However, the landscape related article below demonstrates the propensity to raise funds even when the personal financial return is non-existent.

Click to read the full article

The people who have contributed to the crowdfunding platform will probably see no financial return on their investment, but the required funds were raised in a very short time. So what does this tell us about raising finance in the current economic climate?

Firstly, there are clearly funds available for investment. Secondly, the return on investment does not necessarily have to be in financial terms. The simplicity in being able to directly raise funds from a variety of investors, means that any proposition can be put forward, even buying a beach!

Crowdfunding continues to grow in popularity and opportunities like the one above will only add to this. Raising this level of funding for an opportunity that will deliver no obvious financial return to the investors means that those crazy projects with the potential to be profitable should not be dismissed. It may not be possible to raise funds through traditional routes for many opportunities but crowdfunding may provide the initial investment that is required.

Traditional funding options such as the banks and private equity funds will continue to have a large part to play in the finance requirements of businesses and individuals. However, when the opportunity is a bit too quirky or lacking the level of return required by commercial institutions, then why not think out of the box. It can’t do you any harm and it may mean that you end up with a small part of your very own private beach somewhere!

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner

It’s manufacturing, but not as we know it!

3D Widget Printing

I have written blogs and articles before on the advance of 3D printing and what it could mean for manufacturing in all kinds of sectors. The new Airbus A350 XWB (unveiled last year) has about 1,000 3D printed components. 3D printing is clearly no longer a novelty manufacturing process and it has the potential to transform the aerospace industry supply chain and cost structure, producing lighter parts faster with less waste. Currently, the components are mostly widgets and brackets, small routine parts rather than large structures. The size of the part is limited by the size of the printer so it is difficult to imagine a machine large enough to make an airframe, but wider applications seem to be a distinct short term possibility.

But clock the latest advances. Scientists in the US have been using 3D printing to create living body parts with sections of bone, muscle and cartilage all functioning normally when implanted into animals. Move over Dr Frankenstein!!

Seriously though, this technology has the potential to disrupt many industries and there is significant funding being made available in the sector. Rosebud Finance and the North West Fund have recently invested additional money in an East Lancashire business to finance its rapid growth. It seems the possibilities are only limited by the boundaries of imagination.

If you are thinking of investing in new technologies and need pointing in the direction of funding, then give one of the Corporate Finance team a call on 01254 679131 and ask to speak to Jim Akrill or Tim Mills or contact me directly at

Jim Akrill – Corporate Finance Partner

Management Buy Outs – Are You Ready To Own The Business?


I have advised on a wide variety of management buy outs.  They are without doubt an excellent opportunity for the current business owners to achieve an exit without the potential headaches of selling to an external buyer, whilst allowing a management team to become the owners of a business which they have helped to develop and grow. However, being part of an MBO team requires a certain mind set if it is to be a success.

The transition from employee to business owner is for many a leap that is taken with little hesitation, but for some it can prove difficult to make the necessary adjustments. There are a different set of pressures that come with owning a business to those of being an employee and for some, these can prove to be overwhelming.

It is essential to develop and support the management team prior to the buy-out process commencing. This can be provided by the vendors or external advisers and should provide the team with the fundamental skills they need to become successful owners, whilst giving comfort to the vendors that the management team include the right people who are ready for this new responsibility.

Being a business owner can bring great challenges but it can also provide great rewards. So when the possibility of an MBO arises, do not shy away or dismiss it, just take time consider all of the implications. Discussing the opportunity with third parties who have been involved in MBOs will ensure that both the management team and the vendors are prepared for what lies ahead.

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner 

Dave The Dog

IMG_1704I have a dog, Dave. He has been part of the family since last summer when my wife and two sons convinced me that having a dog would be a good idea. Now, we have discovered that Dave likes a challenge, trying to escape from an increasingly more secure back garden. He does not give up just because we have increased the height of the fencing or reinforced the ground; he spends his time searching for potential weak spots we may have missed. Watching him carefully inspect the new perimeter in the garden made me think of the determination he has in trying to escape.

This ‘never give up’ attitude is also a key characteristic of many business owners. They all have a driving ambition to achieve certain goals and set new ones when these have been fulfilled. The issue many business owners have is setting the goals as part of an overall strategy. Individual owners often have nobody they can discuss matters with and even where there is a team discussing and agreeing strategy can be low on the ‘to do list’.

However, talking with team members or external parties is a key part of being able to bring individual plans, ideas and thoughts together in a strategy.  I would advise that spending time on business strategy is time well spent. You will find that most people are willing to listen and share their thoughts and advice, even if it is just providing feedback on your ‘crazy plans’.

I am currently advising a number of businesses that have long term goals but are unsure how to achieve them. The owners have engaged me to be part of regular meetings to map out the strategy for their businesses. This has proven to be very beneficial as it gives them fixed diary dates that are dedicated to focusing on developing opportunities that move them along the path of their long term plans.

You see if Dave could talk and asked me how to get out of the garden I could tell him that learning to climb a few feet up a tree would lead him to freedom. However, dogs can’t talk but business owners have no such excuse.

Tim Mills – Corporate Finance Partner

There’s No Place Like Home


It’s fantastic to see a local business grow to a huge size and still stay loyal to its geographical roots. Euro Garages began its life in sunny Blackburn and is still in sunny Blackburn, having resisted any temptation to move to the bright lights of the big city. It is by no means the only example though, with Daisy Telecom still based in even sunnier Nelson.

Both companies have put acquisitions at the heart of their growth strategy and have shown how to make them work. The gloomy statistics put out about how something like 50% of acquisitions fail to deliver the hoped for value just show how important it is to get things right.

Firstly, both these companies have a clear strategy which makes the decision about what to buy and whether it is worth buying much easier. Woolly thinking destroys value.

Secondly, they have a tried and tested business model into which they can integrate their acquisitions to maximum benefit.

Thirdly, they have secured external equity investment in one form or another to fuel their growth plans. The expected increase in value outweighs the proportion of ownership relinquished.

But you don’t have to be a Daisy or a Euro Garages to make acquisitions work for you. SMEs can also play this game. Have a clear growth strategy. Be positive about how you are going to integrate your acquisition and make it happen. Don’t be afraid of external investment.

Finally, get help. PM+M Corporate Finance have the experience and contacts to help you drive your growth ambitions. For more information, contact Jim Akrill ( or 01254 604353) or Tim Mills ( or 01254 604302).