Responsive Engineering set to expand after BIMBO


North East-based Responsive Group, has undergone a buy-in, management buy-out (BIMBO) for an undisclosed sum, from Chris Thompson and his family. Thompson is a well known local entrepreneur.

Backed by the North East office of Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance (the asset-based lending arm of Lloyds TSB Bank), the BIMBO is being led by Paul Torday (MBI candidate), and the current group managing director, Peter Bernard. The BIMBO team were advised by Clearwater Corporate Finance.

Investment in the business will be the key focus going forward as the new owners believe that, with the resource and access to capital this opportunity brings, they can capitalise on a number of significant opportunities in the near future.

“We currently have a number of exciting opportunities in new markets and with major customers which will substantially develop and expand the business,” commented Peter Bernard, Responsive’s managing director. “We’re not looking to radically change the business, but we will largely be adding momentum, new capital and technologies.”

The group is based in 56,000 sq ft of high quality manufacturing space on the Team Valley. It is a leading UK provider of specialist engineering services to a number of markets including; aerospace, defence, oil and gas, medical, FMCG, and automotive markets.

With a £6 million aggregate turnover, Responsive is a group holding company with four strategic businesses.

Weldex provides precision welding and precision fabrication and is highly experienced in the welding of exotic materials including titanium, duplex, inconel and hastelloy.

Streamline provides waterjet and laser cutting processes and was the first waterjet cutting company in the UK. The business produces components for the defence and aerospace sectors and cuts 150mm thick armoured plate with water. Streamline also enjoys success with ‘architectural’ customers and has been involved in many prestigious contracts including the refurbishment of the House of Commons and more recently work on the roof trusses for the Scottish Houses of Parliament.

Pressex provides pressing, forming and assembly services with a comprehensive range of manual, semi-automated and automated presses up to 250 tonne capacity. Pressex has an excellent reputation for the supply of niche automotive components.

Kingsway provides CNC precision machining including the production of critical components for specialist engineering businesses such as high precision suspension and fuel management components to F1 teams.

Kingsway has also forged a reputation in the medical and scientific sectors which includes the manufacture of prosthetic limbs and precision mechanisms for X-ray equipment.

The Responsive group, whose customer base is very broad and diverse was created to give the four companies more focus and strategic direction and to allow them to take advantage of potential cross-selling opportunities and to undertake more contracts on a group-wide basis.

Paul Torday will take on the role of executive chairman of the group, and Peter Bernard will continue as the group managing director. A number of other senior management across the group are also participating in the buy-out.

“We are in the enviable position of being able to provide an ‘across the board’ capability in all forms of high precision cutting, forming and joining of metals,” added Bernard. “An emphasis is placed on metals and exotic materials which are hard to cut and difficult to join. This is all reinforced by strong project management, excellent on time delivery and high levels of quality assurance which are established trademarks of the business.”

Paul Torday, who lives in Northumberland, is currently chairman of Bifold Fluidpower Ltd, a specialist engineering business in the North West, supplying critical components to wellhead control systems in the oil and gas industry. With a strong track record in building successful businesses, Torday has considerable experience in the engineering sector.

Mike Reeves, partner with Clearwater Corporate Finance – advisers to the buy-out team – added; “We have been looking for investment opportunities with Paul Torday for some time, and Responsive ticked all the right boxes, especially in relation to the strength of the existing management team who were keen to undertake a buy-out.

“The business is in an excellent position to provide the combination of responsiveness and technical know-how to a number of new markets as well as serving the existing customer base.”

Working with Mike Reeves was Jon Mercer – assistant director with Clearwater. Backing the buy-out is Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance led by Peter Scaife. Banking arrangements were provided by Lloyds TSB Corporate in Newcastle with David Dick – senior manager.

Lloyds TSB Commercial Finance were advised by a cross office team from law firm Watson Burton LLP with Andrew Gosnay leading the Leeds based team and Mark Lazenby running the Newcastle team.

Robert Muckle advised the buy-out team (Hugh Welch and Siobhan Kenyon) with Ward Hadaway advising the vendors (Robert Thompson and Craig Swinhoe).