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Barclays Private Equity sells Deb Group for £325m

03 März 2010

BPE generates 5.7 x money multiple on investment Barclays Private Equity, one of Europe’s leading mid-market private equity investors, today announces the sale of Deb Group (“Deb” or “the Group”), the ‘away from home’ skincare system company, to Charterhouse Capital Partners for £325m. This represents a money multiple of 5.7 times on BPE’s original investment of £32m.

Deb manufactures and markets skincare products and dispensing systems for the industrial, automotive, healthcare, food and commercial sectors. The business has operations in 16 countries and its products are sold across 100 countries through a global network of distributors. In the year to 31 December 2009, the Group generated sales of over £122m.  

Deb was founded in Derbyshire in the 1940’s, manufacturing bulk industrial skincare products under the Swarfega brand. Swarfega was originally formulated as a cleaner of women’s silk stockings. When the introduction of nylon began to replace the market for silk stockings, it was marketed for use as a degreaser by engineers and mechanics, establishing Swarfega as the market leader in the UK industrial hand cleaning sector.  

The business now manufactures a wide range of sophisticated hand hygiene and cleaning products under a number of brands including Deb, Cutan and Swarfega. The majority of its products are now distributed by proprietary wall-mounted dispensing systems which use patented intellectual property.  

Barclays Private Equity backed the £135m management buyout of Deb in March 2004 taking a 55% stake in the business. Since then the business has grown every year generating a 116% increase in revenues and 190% increase in EBIT over the past six years.  

During its investment period BPE worked alongside the management team to achieve the following:

  • Transitioned executive management of the business from the retiring owner managers to a new senior management team. In 2005, BPE recruited James Wilde as Chairman (formerly CEO of Rentokil Initial plc) and Bryan Anderson as Group Chief Executive (formerly COO of Coats plc).
  • Explansion into a number of new international markets including Germany and Japan.
  • £20m investment in new state-of-the-art manufacturing and R&D facility in Denby, Derbyshire which opened in November 2009. This enabled the entire UK workforce to be relocated from the original manufacturing plant less than three miles away. The new facility will enable Deb to effectively market its range of highly sophisticated products to new customers and markets.

The business was refinanced in 2006 which enabled BPE to refinance its original investment and fund the acquisition of a further significant minority shareholding, taking its stake to 75%. 

The management buyout is being led by the current Chief Executive, Bryan Anderson, and Finance Director, Russell Baker.

Simon Lyons of UBS co-ordinated the sale process.

Rob Myers, Director at Barclays Private Equity commented:

“The acquisition of Deb from its owner managers in 2004 provided BPE with an opportunity to invest in a highly robust platform for expansion. We have worked with an exceptional management team led by the CEO Bryan Anderson and supported by James Wilde as Chairman, both of whom BPE recruited to drive the business forwards. This team has aggressively grown the business by investing in its intellectual property, global workforce and manufacturing facilities. BPE is proud to have worked alongside a highly talented and ambitious team who have delivered exceptional financial results whilst positioning the business for its next stage of development”.

Bryan Anderson, Chief Executive of Deb, said:

“Barclays Private Equity has provided Deb with tremendous support since the original date of its investment in the business. Deb has developed and prospered under the ownership of BPE, who recruited a management team to take the business forward into new markets and sectors. The development of our new global headquarters and European manufacturing plant in Derbyshire is a clear illustration of this support. BPE passes on a highly successful, well invested company to Charterhouse Capital Partners.”

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