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Historic Grimsby firm gears up for growth following acquisition

Colleagues at Fowler & Holden pour metal into moulds at the site in Grimsby

Fowler & Holden in Grimsby has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by TGM Partners, an investment firm which specialises in acquiring family-owned businesses.

Founded more than a 100 years ago in 1919 by Hector Fowler, the foundry and engineering business employs 25 people. Turnover last year was £3m.

The company, based at 20,000 sq. ft headquarters on Railway Street in Grimsby, manufactures and supplies its products to the construction, rail and municipal market in the UK. More recently it has become known for its FastFlow range of drainage products which are commonly used in civil engineering works.

Nick and Sarah Kitchen, the husband and wife team who bought the business in 2010, will now exit the business as part of the deal after they appointed BTG Advisory, part of Begbies Traynor Group, to find a suitable buyer for the firm. The pair will guide a smooth transition process to the new management team.

TGM Partners says the  acquisition fits perfectly into its existing portfolio of nine other industrial and engineering businesses and supports its long-term strategy of acquiring family-owned businesses in the UK and nurturing them for further growth.  

Eric Kolodner, co-founding director of TGM Partners, said:

“We are delighted to confirm the acquisition of this historic business in the heart of Grimsby. Fowler & Holden has a first class reputation in the marketplace, a highly skilled local workforce and demand is growing for its specialist products.

“Our team cares deeply about the incredible heritage of the business and all the staff and customers can be assured that our business plan is about stability and continuity followed by growth and development. We are excited about creating new relationships and partnerships for the business with our existing portfolio companies and their customers in complementary industry sectors.

“We are looking forward to transitioning members of the existing management team into enhanced leadership roles within the business during 2021 and building on the good work the company has delivered for more than a century.”

Nick Kitchen, said:

“I’m confident the business will prosper under TGM Partners who have exciting plans for the future of the business. The fact that the business has continued to grow revenues and secure new contracts and fulfil orders during a global pandemic is testament to the quality of our products made here in Grimsby and the skill of the experienced team, many of who have worked at the firm for years.

“It was important to us when selecting a buyer for the business that we were assured the business will go from strength to strength under new leadership. I’m proud to have been the custodian of the business for the past ten years and I’m certain the future is bright and there are many opportunities ahead for the business.”

“BTG Advisory, who have led this transaction on our behalf, have been excellent through this process. They identified the correct type of buyer for the business and advised us professionally throughout. As an owner manager I couldn’t have wished for anything better to ensure the transaction went smoothly so that an experienced and ambitious new management team can continue to move the business forwards.” 

Emma Jones of BTG Advisory, who advised the vendors on the deal, said:

“This is a great deal for everyone involved. TGM is committed to long term investments and the acquisition of Fowler & Holden complements its existing portfolio enabling it to continue on its growth curve. It was particularly important to the new owners and the vendor that the staff, brand and customers were prioritised and in TGM we’ve all been assured of their long term commitment and positive approach to growing and developing the business.”

Begbies Traynor Group is a professional services practice with a network of offices throughout the UK, including three in the Humber, located in Hull, Scunthorpe and Grimsby. Lisa Whitelam and Laura Coleman-Day of Burton Dyson provided legal advice to the vendor. Andy Rusling of Marshalls Accountants provided tax advice.

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