BUSINESS OVERVIEW

Spaform had been manufacturing hot tubs from a site in Portsmouth since the early 1980s and was subject to a management buyout backed by ISIS Equity Partners in 2003. Although the company was the largest spa maker in Europe the business materially underperformed and finally ran out of cash in December 2005 owing creditors over £10m.

The sale guarantees the future of the business and its staff, and creates a platform for growth.

Alex Toso, Spaform

OUR ROLE

Within a week of being introduced to the opportunity, Alex and Intrinsic Equity stepped in to rescue the business and acquired the trade and assets out of administration. The deal saved the jobs of the 70-strong workforce and transferred the debts owed to its existing funders, Venture Finance, to the new business. The quick deal ensured that the production of Spaform’s hot tubs would not be affected.

The key elements of the turnaround were:

  • Moving away from selling hot tubs through independent UK Spaform branded retailers to focusing instead on specialist retailers with their own distribution networks and their own brand proposition.
  • Continuing the restructuring of the manufacturing facility to make it a more efficient very lean low batch size manufacturer.
  • Spaform had invested heavily in world class manufacturing facilities but needed a stronger European retail network to fully access the potential. Good relationships were developed and promoted to new European retail partners.

In February 2007 the company was sold for £4.5 million (of which £3.0m was upfront) to Teuco Guzzini a family owned Italian business which designs, manufactures and distributes upmarket bathroom products, such as showers, saunas and spas.  This was a great result for all parties guaranteeing the future of the business and its staff, and creating a good platform for future growth. The deal repaid all of the funding for Venture Finance and generated a capital gain of more than £1.8 million for Alex and Intrinsic.

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The statutory directors of Orbis Partners Ltd are Chris Gregory, James Grenfell, Gary Ecob and Shah Zaki.