Ambi-rad in the hot spot


West Midlands-based Ambi-Rad, Europe’s number one manufacturer of radiant tube heating systems for the commercial and industrial markets and a key supplier of warm air heating systems, has undergone a management buy-out for an undisclosed sum.

The £21 million turnover business is well known in the construction and building services industries for high performance energy efficient heating equipment under its leading brand names Ambi-Rad, Nordair-Niche, Nor-Ray-Vac, Airbloc and Reznor. The company employs over 200 staff at its four UK sites.

The company also owns 50 per cent of a Chinese joint venture, Ambi-Rad (Daqing) Co Ltd which is based in Daqing, China.

Headquartered at Brierley Hill, West Midlands, Ambi-Rad was originally founded in 1979 by John Fletcher and Mike Brookes together with Larry Srodzinski, who died in 1996. The business has been successfully grown through an emphasis on new product development and through developing a strong export business.

Barclays Bank provided finance to support the MBO team comprising Paul O’Donohue – finance director, Frank Staniland – sales director, Simon Hartles – marketing director and Chris Yates – manufacturing director. Mike Brookes remains as managing director of the business as part of the deal and John Fletcher will become non executive chairman.

“This deal is an excellent example of how a debt funded MBO can be used to enable management to acquire a business while still generating an excellent return for shareholders” says Andy Moore, Clearwater partner.

“We have successfully developed Ambi-Rad into a market leading firm which is testament to the skills of our entire workforce,” says Mike Brookes, Ambi-Rad’s managing director. “The business has significant growth opportunities including developing its Far East business through the Chinese joint venture and the continued expansion of our export business. We have opened up a number of new markets which currently account for 20 per cent of our sales and we hope to grow this significantly in the future.”

Gareth Iley, assistant director with Clearwater Corporate Finance added; “Through a series of product development initiatives, Ambi-Rad has developed an unrivalled capability to supply a diverse range of heating equipment to the industrial and commercial markets. This is a strong management team which will see the company go from strength to strength. It’s great to be associated with a UK manufacturing success story.”

Tamiko Jones, a relationship director for Barclays Business Banking said: “We are delighted to support the management team of this long standing customer. Ambi-Rad is a high quality business with excellent future prospects.”

Key projects for Ambi-Rad’s radiant heating range have included; aircraft hangars for the UK military at RAF Coltishall which achieved a 64 per cent energy saving; an 80 acre manufacturing and production facility with over 100 buildings for FKI Brush and supplying the Nor-Ray-Vac system for Sports England’s Optimum Sports Hall.

Ambi-Rad also manufactures a range of air curtains utilised for door entrances known as ‘Airbloc’. Suitable for both the commercial and retail market, the company has supplied a number of blue-chip businesses including; Marks & Spencer, Greggs, Next, Ikea and Carphone Warehouse.

The management team were advised by Andy Moore and Gareth Iley of Clearwater Corporate Finance with legal advice from Richard Cliff at George Green & Co. Bank debt was arranged by Tamiko Jones at Barclays Bank. The vendors were advised by Joanne Bligh at Browne Jacobson.