Denby Group changes hands in £48 million deal


Denby Group, the UK’s leading casual dinnerware brand, has changed hands in a £48 million deal.

The secondary management buy-out backed by Bank of Scotland Corporate, sees Phildrew Ventures, now known as IRRfc, realise its 1999 investment in the business.

The Denby management team were advised by Clearwater Corporate Finance plc. Bank of Scotland Corporate provided an integrated debt and equity package to support the deal through its Midlands-based Integrated Finance operation, which sees Garry Biggs, managing director lead the management team.

Established in 1809, Denby, which is based in Ripley in Derbyshire, was the subject of a buy-out by 3i in 1990. The company was floated in 1994 before being taken private in May 1999 by IRRfc. It was at this point that the relationship with Bank of Scotland Corporate began, when the Bank co-underwrote the debt facility.

Commenting on the deal, Denby managing director, Garry Biggs who joined the business in March 2004 said: “Bank of Scotland’s Integrated Finance offering has enabled the team to fulfil its ambitions and take control of the business, maintaining its independence whilst providing an attractive long term one stop shop funding package. Within a very tight timescale they were able to understand our needs and structure a solution that enables us to take advantage of this exciting opportunity in the company’s future.”

Dan Bowtell, assistant director with Clearwater Corporate Finance who worked on the deal with partner Marc Gillespie commented: “This is the next stage of development for what is a well known and well regarded local business. The integrated finance product enables management to take a majority equity stake in the business and will ensure continuity of management who have a strong commitment to develop the business. Denby are in an excellent position to move the business forward with their significant market share and worldwide operations.”

Ian Guthrie and Stuart Winton of Bank of Scotland Integrated & Acquisition Finance Midlands, in a joint statement added: “Our Midlands based team identified early on the Denby business as providing an excellent integrated finance opportunity, particularly given the longevity of the business and its high barriers to entry. We are delighted to support Garry Biggs and his team and look forward to continuing to grow the business from its current market leading position.”

The group employs over 600 staff and had a turnover of £40 million in the year to September, an increase of eight per cent. Together with its 400,000 sq ft Ripley facility, Denby has 11 retail sites and a visitor centre.

Denby has also recently introduced a complementary range of glassware, cutlery and accessories. The company has sales in over 30 countries worldwide including expansion into Canada, Australia, Germany, Scandinavia, Italy and New Zealand. The company mainly sells through department stores and specialist retailers including Debenhams, John Lewis and House of Fraser in the UK and Federated Department Stores in the US.