Ignite Growth acquires Newcastle Tool & Gauge Ltd as first step in buy & build in precision engineering market

 In News

London, 25th January 2021 – Ignite Growth (“Ignite”), a UK-based investor focused on supporting the growth of ambitious, fast growing companies, today announces that it has acquired Newcastle Tool & Gauge Ltd (“NTG” or “the Group”), as the first stage in a buy and build growth strategy. This is Ignite’s second buy and build platform investment. The financial terms of the transaction are undisclosed.

Founded in 1979, NTG is a precision engineering business based in Gateshead. It manufactures low volume, high value parts for use in Severe Duty Engineering Applications: where its products operate in high temperature, high pressure or high stress environments.

Prior to Ignite’s investment, NTG had three shareholders, Brian Bates, Joan Graham and Charlie Sampy who have owned and managed the business since 2008. Ignite’s investment provides a retirement solution for Brian and Joan. Charlie Sampy remains a shareholder, Director and a key member of the management team as Head of Operations. Ignite has sourced an industry-leading team to work with Charlie and build on NTG’s impressive reputation. All other employees and members of the team will remain in place and continue to manage the business.

NTG’s incoming management team comprising Mike Hutchinson, MD, and Dr. Douglas Dawson Chairman. They are both highly experienced managers of engineering businesses. Mike was previously General Manager of Spincraft ETG, a Newcastle based precision engineering business making specialist metal formings. Douglas is CEO of Liberty Industry Group, the $2bn engineering division of Gupta Family Alliance a privately owned global industrial business with $20bn revenues.

Ignite will work closely with management to build the business both organically through ongoing investment in staff, culture and plant and machinery as well as through a “buy and build” strategy. The acquisition of NTG is the first step on building a substantial business in the precision engineering sector. There are over 2,000 precision engineering businesses in the UK (source: IBIS) many of which are owned by managers looking to retire over the next 5 years. Ignite is looking to acquire businesses which can extend NTG’s footprint into new end markets and capabilities. The funding for the acquisition programme has already been secured.

Andrew Leek, Partner at Ignite Growth, said: “NTG is a clear leader in its field and is well-positioned for future growth in a sector that is also ripe for consolidation. We were impressed by NTG’s reputation amongst its customers, the long term investment that Charlie and his fellow directors made in the factory and the commitment to the team of skilled machinists. We think the precision engineering sector is right for consolidation and will be working with Mike and the team to build NTG both organically and through acquisitions.”

Mike Hutchinson, MD at Newcastle Tool & Gauge, said: “Douglas and I are thrilled to be joining NTG at such an exciting time in its development. The business has shown incredible resilience through the Covid pandemic. We look forward to working with Ignite to build a business development capability that will match the exceptional quality that NTG produces and to bringing NTG’s to a wider audience across the UK.”

Charlie Sampy, Head of Operations, shareholder and former MD at Newcastle Tool & Gauge, said: “Ignite were straightforward and easy to work with and they have allowed Brian, Joan and me to achieve our aspirations whilst putting together a management team who understand us and our culture and can help take the business forward. The business is in good hands and I am very excited about the future for NTG.”

Debt for the investment was provided by Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending who provided both cash flow and asset based financing. Ignite was advised by Trowers & Hamlins (legal advisors), KPMG (financial advisors), Dow Schofield Watts (financial due diligence), Tax Advisory Partnership (tax due diligence), Armstrong Transaction Services (commercial due diligence), Usable Media (digital due diligence), QI Performance (HR due diligence), Hill Coates Associates (Executive Search). Vendors were advised by Clive Owen (corporate finance) and Ward Hadaway (legal advisors). Management was advised by Consilium (legal advisors).

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