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Egbert Taylor

Status

Realised

Situation

Complex buy-out

Sector

Waste management

Headquarters

Worcestershire, UK

Investment Date

October 2011 – December 2017

The leading UK supplier and manufacturer of steel waste containment solutions.

 

About Egbert Taylor

Egbert Taylor is the market-leading manufacturer of steel based waste containers in the UK. Its Continental 1100 has been the market standard for 4-wheeled steel bins for over 20 years.

 

Sullivan Street helped Egbert Taylor:
  • Restructure operations and implement operational improvements
  • Acquire major competitor, Sellers Containers to consolidate the market and diversify revenue streams
  • Grow export revenue by c.£3m and launch new product lines

 

The Investment

The Egbert Taylor Group was Sullivan Street’s first acquisition. We believed the resilience of the underlying bin sales would then support development and growth. We had faith that that growth was to come from building on that one symbolic product and extending to other products and other geographies to create a resilient, diversified, international waste containment provider.

Unfortunately, asset sweating, historical over-purchasing and changes in refurbishment usage meant the core £20m product revenue for both Egbert Taylor and the market declined by over 30% within the first twelve months of our ownership. Sullivan Street’s response was swift and effective, acquiring manufacturer ‘Sellers’ and overhauling the production process. Within a few years, the business had bridged the shortfall and was trading at pre-acquisition levels. The creation of over £7m of revenue from these changes in addition to margin improvement in the residual core left a diversified business unrecognisable from both the one we acquired and the one left standing after the initial market downturn.

Four years later, after the above changes, Sullivan Street were on the cusp of exiting the business at a good multiple of money to a group that could take advantage of and grow the international operations. At this point the core product revenues took another hit, in absolute terms as significant as the first, in percentage terms dropping another 50% of revenue. Notwithstanding the diversification and the capital restructuring undergone in the previous five years this was not something the business could withstand, and the debt provider, Indigo Capital, decided to enforce its security, place several of the companies in the group into administration, and take control of the operating company they felt had a viable future they could monetise.

Obviously, the result of leaving the company with an enforcing debt provider was not the intention, but at Sullivan Street we can take comfort that we left a strong, vibrant, and growing company behind the capital structure. Equally, for the partners at Sullivan Street, the experience of Egbert Taylor was more valuable than any successful transaction in their history – in the series of challenges which were almost surmounted both Richard and Layton learnt essential lessons to the subsequent successes.