McBrides Chartered Accountants has acted for Martin Fells and his Sidcup-based company Tropical Blinds Ltd in its recent sale to Mzuri Holdings Limited, a Northern Ireland based manufacturer of shutters and blinds.
Backed by the British Growth Fund, Mzuri Holdings approached Tropical Blinds during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 about a potential acquisition and both parties were open to seeing if a deal could be negotiated and structured.
Following the successful sale to Mzuri, which completed on 2 March 2021, Tropical Blinds will maintain its name and headquarters in Sidcup and will continue to operate independently to provide customers with the same high-quality products they have come to expect.
As a result of the transaction, Martin Fells is retiring from Tropical Blinds with Arron Zimmatore appointed to managing director. Angela Uttridge and Vicky Gayle will remain directors within the business.
McBrides corporate finance partner Nigel Kimber led the negotiations on behalf of Martin and his management team and was supported by fellow McBrides colleagues senior corporate finance manager Anthony Hawkins, senior accounts manager Darren Peeling and senior corporate and business taxes adviser Matt Reid. Joanne Gallagher, partner and head of corporate and commercial at law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, headed the legal team on the transaction.
In 2015, McBrides advised Tropical Blinds, a client since 1997, on the implementation of an employee share option scheme for key management to assist its former managing director in driving business growth and profitability. The firm will retain the audit of Tropical Blinds.
Commenting on the transaction, Nigel Kimber said: “We are absolutely delighted for Martin and the management team on the successful sale to Mzuri. The transaction was a complex jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces slotted together exactly how everyone wanted.
“Both parties had a real willingness to strike a level of consideration that looked through the impact that Covid-19 might have had on the company’s performance. The strategy for both seller and buyer was perfectly aligned and the hard work and superb communication by both parties was testament to the professionalism of all concerned.
“The complex nature of the share options that we advised on six years ago became seamless in the body of the transaction. It was a pleasure working with Martin, Arron, Angela and Vicky and we wish them every success in the future.”
Martin Fells commented: “Completing a sale at any time is daunting but more so during a global pandemic when meetings that would be in person are moved to Zoom and conference calls. I’m delighted that the business I set up with a £500 loan from a family member in 1978 and grown successfully will retain its staff, directors and the name too. From a personal perspective, I’m looking forward to a long and happy retirement and being able to help my family too.”
Arron Zimmatore commented: “We are delighted that Tropical Blinds has been incorporated into the Mzuri Holdings Group of companies. After more than 40 years of trading as an independent business, we are pleased to be joining a parent company that fully supports our methods of working and individual approach to the window blinds market.
“The team at McBrides, headed by Nigel Kimber and supported by Anthony Hawkins, has been a truly exceptional example of how to handle an acquisition of this scale. Understanding our needs as their client, negotiating hard but with respect and ultimately getting a fantastic deal over the line for all parties. The directors of Tropical Blinds would like to pass on our sincere thanks to the full team that supported us on our journey, and we would highly recommend McBrides and their corporate finance team.”