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Mitchell Charlesworth’s Accelerated Service completes Watford Control acquisition

Mitchell Charlesworth has completed its first transaction through its new Accelerated service with the sale of manufacturer Watford Control.

The Accelerated Service was established in early 2016 to deliver high-speed support for businesses looking to sell quickly to meet a goal or due to cash flow, profit and balance sheet pressure.  The latest deal saw Watford Control sold to a consortium of two existing market place competitors, JMS Transformers Limited based at Peterborough and Envirovolt Limited (t/a Carbon Management Services), based in Hertford.

The transaction was completed in just 16 weeks and saw 18 jobs saved, around half the total workforce, at the ailing voltage control and power supply business.
Total sales of all products across the newly acquired business are expected to top £2million for 2017 from a dedicated market driven sales force now supporting the traditional manufacturing site with planned growth of 15pc year on year.

The Accelerated Service brings three of Mitchell Charlesworth’s key service teams together – Corporate FinanceCorporate Recovery & Insolvency and Tax Advisory to ensure clients have all the advice they need from one advisor.

Mitchell Charlesworth partner Brian McCann, who leads the MC Vanguard Corporate Finance division, said “Our goal is always to maximise value for the shareholders but with the Accelerated service we have the additional goal to sell assets or businesses as quickly as possible.

“After starting work with Watford Control back in February we completed the entire business acquisition process in little more than 16 weeks – a role which usually requires six months or more to bring to fruition. The result is that the firm will now remain under UK control with the new management team at the helm. Half the jobs have been saved and employees will be transferred with minimum disruption to a site near the Watford Control base in Corby.”

Formed in 1947, Watford Control is considered to be the world leader in voltage control, having patented the technology for AC mains Voltage Stabilisers and Regulators in 1972. Since then, they have shipped thousands of units worldwide.

Head of Mitchell Charlesworth’s Corporate Restructuring team, Jeremy Oddie, said “The business had just weeks left before it would have been forced to make a second wave of redundancies and enter into a phased shutdown.

“All staff at Watford Control remained committed throughout the acquisition process by working out their employment terms to ensure the business continued to function efficiently. There is a great appreciation all round for their efforts as well as for the loyalty shown by suppliers and customers who remained patient.

“One of the first and most important roles we supported with was stabilising Watford Control and ensuring it was operating efficiently and in a way which could attract purchasers and investment.

“Initial groundwork included a thorough interrogation of the business operation and the subsequent compilation of a business summary. We were then able to circulate this information confidentially to an extensive international network before negotiating with interested parties and rationalising the best possible deal for Watford Control.

“Our corporate finance division has a long established network developed over more than 10 years and includes several hundred contacts with an interest in buying businesses. Further, membership of the Kreston international network enables us to open international channels with corporate investors globally. Interest in this business was generated from both UK and overseas parties.

“The strength of our network is invaluable to organisations like Watford Control – an established family business, who is not only excellent at what it does, but also operates in a niche sector and needs to target a specific type of investor or buyer.

“Clients can use our ‘Accelerated’ service during various urgent circumstances, such as the loss of a key member of the management team, the loss of a major customer, a market change leading to declining sales in a product or service, change in working capital cycles, reduction in margins, or unforeseen costs.

“Any of these circumstances can put sudden pressure on a successful business and cause rapid loss of value if steps are not taken quickly to address the problem or realise value.”

Details of our ‘Accelerated’ service  can be found here. For more information contact one of our specialists below: