Portfolio News

Interview with Managing Director and NXD of LDC portfolio company Eley Group

LDC’s Midlands team completed a significant investment to support the £42million management buyout of leading manufacturer, Eley Group, from Birmingham-based IMI in October 2014.

Based in Sutton Coldfield, Eley was founded in 1928, and has established a reputation as the world’s leading manufacturer of .22LR rounds for the sports target shooting market. Eley’s products are the first choice of the world’s top shooters, and a significant majority of medals at the world’s most prestigious events, including the London 2012 Olympic Games, were won by competitors using Eley Tenex – the firm’s premium product.

Our investment is providing the business with further capital to help accelerate its continuing growth, aiding its ambitions to develop new product innovations to expand its current range, whilst furthering its impressive penetration of the global marketplace.

Commenting on the progression of Eley Group since securing LDC’s backing, Managing Director Andrew Lane said:

“Since the management buyout was completed, Eley has continued to underpin its status as the world leader in its field with an investment in two new additions to its range. The Eley Force and Eley Contact were launched in January 2015, and brings our unrivalled Olympic level quality and accuracy to semi-auto sports target rifles for the first time.

“We’re also rolling-out a host of new global testing facilities, enabling shooters to try out the firm’s range of products and select the best option to suit their individual needs. Among them is a new base in Oslo, which includes a -20 degrees Celsius testing facility to help customers replicate the conditions of the biathlon event, a combination of skiing and shooting, which is part of the Winter Olympic programme.

“We’re proud to fly the flag for the Midlands on the global stage, with 93% of our products exported to countries all over the world, and we previously won the Insider West Midlands Exporter of the Year award.

“We’re now moving ahead with plans to further bolster our worldwide reputation by doubling our manufacturing capacity by increasing the footprint of the site, the installation of new machines, and we are targeting an 8% improvement on our productivity.

“This will lead to new jobs being created to add to our existing 130-strong workforce in the Midlands, including around 25 engineers and technicians. As the only premium manufacturer of .22LR rounds for the sports target shooting market in the UK, we’re proud of our successful apprenticeships scheme with an intake of four people each year, with around a third of our team having graduated from the programme.

“We’re also committed to recruiting staff from other industries as diverse as automotive, pharmaceutical, lock making, and even the Post Office, drawing upon their experience to add extra insight, ideas and innovation to our world leading processes.

“With a solid growth in profits already recorded, in-line with the business plan we agreed with LDC, we’re looking to go on hitting the target in the months and years to come!”

Reflecting on LDC’s involvement with Eley Group to date, Non-Executive Director, Nick Brayshaw, said :

“Securing investment from LDC was an attractive proposition for the Eley Group thanks to its knowledge and understanding of the specific needs of the sector – factors which are extremely important for firms involved in the production of premium quality goods.

“LDC has good knowledge of the issues surrounding value creation and shareholder value, as well as driving profitable growth. Its involvement has had a hugely positive impact on the business, thanks in no small part to its huge support of the management team as it establishes the governance, controls and systems of being a standalone business rather than an arm of a PLC.

“Eley’s newly configured board has big aspirations for the future of the business, and through LDC’s involvement, has been able to prioritise ideas and initiatives, whilst developing a senior management team capable of delivering the business to the next level.

“It’s happening at a good time, as we see a renaissance of the manufacturing industry. The Government environment feels far more supportive, a choice of finance providers and options are available, and there’s a wider recognition of the sector’s role within a modern, balanced economy.

“I’ve lived in the Midlands for more than 15 years, and in recent times there’s been a true sense of Birmingham reasserting itself, finding its feet, and moving forward with confidence.

“Primary buy-outs, such as that of Eley Group, are often a great opportunity. Thus far, the early signs have been encouraging, and the management team is full of ideas and opportunities to help drive the growth of the business.”

For more information on how LDC could help your business grow – please Contact Us or email info@ldc.co.uk

by Sophie Reed

Article Footnotes

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is part of the Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
  2. LDC back ambitious management teams from UK-based companies seeking between £2m and £100m of equity for management buy-outs, institutional buy-outs or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network of 9 offices.