Ardenton Capital Corporation has announced its latest investment in the UK: a majority equity position in Manchester-based Budget Trading Ltd and its Dublin-based sister company Budget Greeting Cards Limited (collectively “BGC”).
Founded in 1984, BGC designs and sells greetings cards and gift wrap, as well as other stationery and celebratory products to SME businesses. It operates eight cash and carry warehouses in the UK and Ireland, employing 180 staff. Last financial year BGC reported sales of £36m.
Ardenton will work closely with BGC’s management team, and the partnership will allow the business to unlock further geographic expansion, starting with the opening of a new showroom in the East Midlands. Ardenton will also assist the company’s founder and Managing Director, Paul Lavery, in developing an e-commerce platform which will help drive additional growth. Martin Lavery, co-founder and Paul’s brother, will exit the business but will remain involved on a consultancy basis to help the company achieve its growth ambitions.
Michael Bradbury, Director of Ardenton UK, was assisted by Jonny Nixon and James Worrall. Commenting on the deal Michael said: “BGC has built an excellent reputation and a market leading position across the UK and Ireland, and benefits from a passionate and extremely knowledgeable management team. We will assist management in developing new routes to market for the business and its products, which will unlock future growth. In the short term, BGC will launch a new cash and carry outlet in Nottingham and will commence development of an online presence. We look forward to working closely with the management team to continue to scale the business and maintain the legacy of its founders.”
Paul Lavery added: “The business has been trading well for more than 30 years, so it was crucial for us that we found an investor who believed in the long-term growth of the company. Ardenton’s strategy of a long-term investment model focused on developing robust sustainable growth was aligned closely with our own aspirations, and made Ardenton the best investor to help take BGC to the next level.”
Ardenton targets majority investments in businesses alongside strong incumbent owners and management teams seeking support in delivering long-term sustainable growth for their businesses. Supporting the partnership between Ardenton and BGC is Director, Strategic Development, Allan Dunn. Based in the firm’s Manchester office, Allan is ideally located to oversee the implementation of the Ardenton Operating System (“AOS”) at BGC, focusing on business improvement and growth.
Jane Hartley, Senior Director at Yorkshire Bank, said: “This well-established family business has been at the forefront of its industry for more than 30 years. BGC has developed a strong presence in the UK and Ireland and its robust approach to its business has made it the market leader. At Yorkshire Bank, we want to champion SMEs in the North West and we are delighted to be working with BGC as it implements its growth strategy, which includes investing in new geographical locations and boosting its online presence.”