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Plumbworld completes MBO from Grafton Group

Published: 7 January 2019 - Fiona Garcia

Online bathroom products retailer, Online Home Retail Limited, has just completed a successful management buyout (MBO). A team led by an original founder of the business, James Hickman, bought back the company, which trades as, from Grafton Group plc.

Based in Evesham, Worcestershire, Online Home Retail Limited, was founded in 1999. It was acquired by Grafton Group in 2006 and has performed well for the merchant group since the takeover. The group, which also operates merchant chain Plumbase, reported “strong growth in revenue” for online retailer, Plumbworld, in its 2016 half-year results, although there is no mention of the business directly in its subsequent reports.

Since its launch nearly 20 years ago, the business has served more than over 1.5million customers, generating over £26million in annual revenue, according to its latest published financial statements.

MD James Hickman believes it is the perfect time for an MBO to support the company
MD James Hickman believes it is the perfect time for an MBO to support the company's growth

Managing director James Hickman explained he feels this is the right time for the MBO and believes being independent will allow the business to take advantage of new opportunities in the online bathroom marketplace: “The e-commerce consumer market is very fast moving and intensely competitive. It requires quick decision making, calculated risk taking and a ruthless focus on eliminating avoidable costs. We believe being independent will offer us greater agility and enable us to focus 100% of our efforts on delivering growth and improving profitability”   

Details of the transaction have not been disclosed. The MBO team was advised by Jeremy Cole and David Middleton of Cole Associates Corporate Finance. Panoramic’s investment was led by partner David Wilson, supported by investment director David Atkinson. Grafton Group was advised by Squire Patton Boggs.


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