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Nick Winks appointed Chairman of Whispering Smith

This successful family business with £50m of sales was established in the 1960’s and is a wholesaler of men’s and women’s fashion garments supplied to UK and European retailers.

Nick Winks of WayPoint Change was appointed Chairman in March 2012.

Wilts Wholesale Electrical sold to Rexel

Wilts, the UK’s largest independent distributors of electrical supplies has completed the sale of 59 of its 62 branches to industry leader Rexel which trades under the Newey & Eyre, Rexel and Senate brands in the UK. The transaction involved the sale of the trade, goodwill and stock. Over 95% of Wilts 400 staff transferred to Rexel. In the year ended March 2010, Wilts reported an operating loss of £6.5m on turnover of £83m.

Wilts ceased to trade immediately following the transaction and all bank debt was fully repaid immediately from sale proceeds. The company, now renamed Fernturn Limited, will collect trade debtors and realise property and other retained assets: proceeds will be used to settle trading liabilities, including pension-related debt.

Commenting on the transaction, Nick Winks, CRO of Wilts since October 2010 said “a great deal has been done to improve the underlying operating performance of the Wilts business – substantial cost base and working capital savings have been achieved. However, the continuing tough market climate and resultant continuing losses meant that the best course of action was to move the business on to a strong trade player. An excellent price was obtained and most of the company’s employees have transferred to the new owner.”

Watts PLC – CRO role completed

WayPoint partner Nick Winks was appointed CRO of this national surveying business in September 2010. The business cash flow at that time showed less than two months availability.

Since 2008, in common with the trend in the UK construction sector, Watts had seen fee income more than halved and had been loss making since 2009.

WayPoint led a dramatic cost reduction programme that reduced annual costs by over £1.2m. This involved mainly losing people by way of redundancy.

The cost of the operational restructure, which also involved removing the European subsidiaries from dependence on the UK business, was born partly by HSBC Bank and partly by an innovative salary abatement scheme involving most staff remaining in the business.

By May 2011 Watts was cash positive and profitable on a month by month basis. It has new leadership and is on budget at October 2011 by which time the Bank felt confident enough to return the business to the Network.

Catalis SE monitoring role

Logo Catalis        This Dutch based business, publicly listed on the German stock exchange, has a games and DVD testing business and is a developer of digital games.

In September 2011 Brussels based bank KBC asked Nick Winks of WayPoint Change to be an Independent Monitoring Director to help the business recover from a cash crisis earlier in 2011.

WayPoint Change Associate Claire Burden has helped the business with cash control and cash forecasting and also assisted Nick Winks in reviewing the business forecasts and budgets for the Bank.

Nick Winks joins Private & Commercial Group plc board

Private & Commercial Finance Group plc (“PCFG” or “the Company”) is pleased to announce that Nick Winks has joined the board as a Non-Executive Director with immediate effect.

Mr. Winks is a highly experienced businessman who has held senior positions in a wide range of businesses and who has a track record of implementing appropriate changes that significantly improve shareholder value.

In addition, David Anthony, previously Non-Executive Director, has today been appointed as Non-Executive Chairman.  Tony Nelson, who was previously Non-Executive Chairman, remains as a Non-Executive Director.

Tony Nelson commented: “We are delighted to welcome Nick to the Board.  His wide-ranging experience should prove invaluable as we further develop our strategy for growing the Company.  Nick joins David Anthony, formerly Chief Executive of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, who was appointed to the board in July and we are fortunate to now have two dedicated and experienced independent directors, both with a strong focus on improving shareholder value.

“I am pleased to say that the board has acceded to my request that David Anthony should take over the role of Chairman and his appointment is effective from today. I will remain on the board and give David my full support.”

CET completes refinancing: turnaround well on track

CET Safehouse, the UK-wide provider of specialist services to the insurance and construction markets, has completed a restructuring of its banking facilities accompanied by a substantial investment from its principal shareholder, the private equity fund Dunedin Capital Partners. The debt restructuring follows a period of significant business turnaround. In the year ended March 2011 the CET group reported EBITDA of £1.6m on turnover of £14.3m and an operating cash inflow of £1.4m, a sharp reversal from the previous year when it reported an EBITDA loss of £0.5m – before exceptional costs of £0.5m – on turnover of £12.2m and an operating cash outflow of £0.5m. Bank debt during the year reduced by £1.2m to £2.9m with normal working capital levels steadily restored during the year.

WayPoint Change partners Nick Winks and Andy Pearson have been working alongside CET’s management team since March 2010 and Nick Winks was appointed Chairman in May 2010. Commenting on the restructuring, Nick Winks said “CET’s management have engineered a massive turnaround after two very poor trading years when the company’s survival was increasingly at risk. We now have normal banking facilities, an incentivised management team and real focus on a number of interesting growth opportunities in the immediate future”.

$350m turnaround at Aero Inventory takes off

Paul Herbert was appointed Chief Restructuring Officer of Aero Inventory UK in November 2010 after a period of administration.

After six months of operational redesign, stock cleansing and rebranding, the aftermarket supplier of aircraft parts Aero Inventory has returned to trading in the aviation market place. The new brand – aeroinv.com – is now listed on the aerospace Inventory Locator Service (ILS), with extensive breadth of stock spans most major aircraft brands and models, valued at up to up to $350m. Through selling the new surplus condition stock on the largest business-to-business electronic marketplace, aeroinv.com’s parts are available to 60,000 airline, MRO and supply chain specialist customers on a daily basis.

In September 2011 the aircraft parts supplier will be launching its web store www.aeroinv.com offering “buy it now” functionality, transparent pricing and trace documentation online. The soon to be available web store will offer ‘buy it now’ functionality, transparent pricing and trace documentation online. Customers will be able to fast track the RFQ (Request for Quotation) process and therefore benefit from a time-efficient and simplified purchasing process. Prior to the launch of the web store, the company’s 24/7 UK based customer service team will be supporting orders. This complements an experienced international field sales team located throughout the globe.

Mimosa Healthcare Group completes £30m debt restructure

Mimosa is a UK care home operator: Nick Winks of WayPoint was appointed to the Board in August 2010. At the time, Mimosa was suffering from the general tightening in Local Authority budgets and had a £30m debt to Bank of Scotland (“BoS”) that was obviously unsustainable.

After a careful review of the options WayPoint presented a report to BoS explaining how the best option for the company and the bank was a sale and leaseback to repay half of the bank debt in cash and a partial debt forgiveness coupled with a limited warrant as an anti embarrassment for the bank.

BoS asked Ernst & Young Birmingham to look at the WayPoint plan to test if it did indeed provide the optimum solution.

By May 2011 the restructure, as proposed by WayPoint, was put in place and Mimosa continues to trade with much lower gearing whilst BoS has recovered a substantial amount of its original lending package.

Andy Pearson joins Adventis Group Plc board

Following Nick Winks’ appointment as Chairman in February, WayPoint partner Andy Pearson has joined the board of the AIM-listed marketing services group, Adventis Group Plc, as Finance Director. Adventis is based in Beaconsfield and owns several UK media and creative marketing agencies specialising in technology, property and health sectors.

Transaction support for ISIS Equity Partners LLP

Transaction support for ISIS Equity Partners LLP

WayPoint Partner Andy Pearson has supported private equity investor ISIS Equity Partners on several recent new investment projects culminating in the £14m investment by ISIS IV LP in hurleypalmerflatt, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy – http://www.isisep.com/default.asp?docId=15230 – which completed in February 2011

Andy worked on the project once ISIS had secured exclusivity and helped to frame due diligence work and deepen ISIS’ knowledge of the business pre-investment

Daniel Smith, who led the ISIS project team, commented “Andy provided thoughtful, timely, robust and relevant support and analysis to the ISIS team, directly contributing to the quality of investment decision we were able to make”