Founders sell firm to team of directors

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Yorkshire (UK) - A YORKSHIRE-BASED foundry has been acquired in a deal which will see the company look to build on its current success. 

Managing director Michael Earnshaw led the purchase of WB White Foundry in Brighouse from founders Bob Pearson and David James, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum. 

He is joined by operations director Richard Taylor, commercial director Paul Owens and finance director Peter Fox.

The company specialises in producing high-quality metal castings. It supplies its products to the engineering, automotive, construction, retail and print sectors.  

The firm's Architectural Street Furnishings (ASF) division, launched in the 1990s, produces street furniture including bollards, railings, benches and tree grilles.

Mr Earnshaw said: "We have big plans for WB White and as a team we have been given the opportunity to commit to its future. We have a fantastic staff of skilled workers, and our reputation for innovation, value and quality is a great platform from which to grow the business." 

The company – which employs 40 staff – was established in 1991 in the former Dominion Foundry, Brighouse, by shareholder Bob Pearson.  

Fellow shareholder David James joined in 1992, and has also sold his stake in the company. 

The deal was backed by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the deal was structured by BTG McInnes Corporate Finance. Both firms said the deal was an indication that the fears about the impact of the United States credit crunch was failing to have an effect on business deals. 

Andrew Walls of BTG McInnes said: "This is a really solid business with an experienced management team, consistent growth and a diverse and growing customer base. The improved profitability predicted by the new owners should be achievable, through a combination of new product lines and closer trading operations between the two divisions."

Peter Smith from RBS provided senior debt facilities and John Moors of RBS Invoice Finance provided working capital facilities in a funding package designed to support further growth of the company. 

Mr Smith said: "It is great to be involved with a traditional local business which has enjoyed sustained profitability despite the threat of competition from overseas. Since the threat of such competition has materialised the company has continued to grow which is testament to the quality and efficiency of the business and its products. We look forward to a long and successful relationship supporting the business in a new era."