MAARSSEN, Netherlands – The last major independent distributor in the UK, has been sold. Gordon & Trevor Fisher have sold Fisher Outdoor Leisure plc to a Management Buy Out headed by Richard Allmark – previously Commercial Director, with investment from ISIS equity partners and funding from HSBC.
FISHER Family Business:
The Fisher business was founded in 1934 by Joe Fisher who was succeeded by his son Clifford ably assisted by his wife Myrtle. Clifford’s sons Gordon & Trevor, , have spent 60 years between them dedicated to the business. building a hugely successful company The company moved from its roots in Finchley to Enfield in 1991, and then again in 2001 to its current base in St. Albans. They developed the business into a national player in the late eighties and early nineties during the MTB boom years acquiring distributor agreements with MET Helmets, Hollywood Racks and Hamax child seats. Gordon and Trevor have worked with their current management team over the past 10 years to achieve a highly respected status within the industry today.
Over the past 5 years Gordon & Trevor have been gradually stepping back from the day to day running of the business and now believe that the time is right for them to move on to new challenges.
“We are pleased to be leaving the business that we have loved and nurtured for so many years in such good shape and with such a strong brand name within the industry. We would like to thank our hardworking staff, valued customers and efficient, reliable suppliers for their support, commitment and friendship. The strong bonds and relationships we have made over the years have meant so much to Trevor and I and we will treasure many happy memories of the last 34 years in the cycle trade.” Said Gordon Fisher
“I would like to thank the my advisors during the sale negotiations for their assistance patients and understanding. especially Colin Winter (solicitor) and Andy White(accountant), and the very hard work of Wendy Bowdler at Fishers and Hans Skeat” continued Gordon
“Having worked at Fisher for nearly 15 years and having been instrumental in the development of the business over the past 10 years, this MBO was without a doubt the next step for me!” said Richard Allmark, new CEO of Fisher Outdoor Leisure Ltd. “My desire for Fisher to be the undisputed market leader in branded P&A distribution is stronger now than ever. The new Fisher will achieve great things, with our customers & suppliers really benefiting from our future plans!” “We have a fantastic team here at Fisher, but in order to strengthen our foundations & achieve our future goals we are building a strong board – with a strong retail focus – and aim to continually invest in the business to secure our future success.”
The Fisher management team will be strengthened with the Introduction of Iain Garden as Finance & Operations Director. Iain Garden has over 15 years senior management experience in the retail sector, principally within the Kingfisher Group. Latterly, he was finance director of Chartwell Land, Kingfisher’s property division, and of Time Retail Finance, its consumer credit arm. Before that he held senior commercial finance roles in Comet, Woolworths and Kingfisher head office. Prior to Kingfisher, Iain worked for Storehouse and Grand Metropolitan Foods, and qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen in 1983.
Peter Watt, who led the investment on behalf of ISIS, said: “Fisher was an ideal proposition for us. It is one of the leading distributors in the UK, supplying approximately 2000 out of 2,500 independent bike dealerships in the country and has excellent relationships with its customers and suppliers. “Fisher is much more than a box shifter and holds a robust position in the supply chain. It works closely with suppliers to promote their products more effectively to retailers, and conversely works closely with retailers on range planning, in-store support and technical advice. There are still gaps in its product base, which means there’s plenty of scope to consolidate and grow the business still further.” ISIS has invested £5.7m for a 44% stake in Fisher, which last year showed profits of £2.2m. They were introduced to the investment by Clearwater Corporate Finance – the managements corporate advisors.
Fishers bankers HSBC said, “We have held a longstanding relationship with Fisher Outdoor Leisure Ltd dating back to 1951. The company has successfully built a strong brand in a competitive environment and is now one of the leading distributors of branded bicycle parts and accessories in the UK. We are pleased to have the opportunity to support this valued existing customer and look forward to developing our relationship with them going forward.”
Allmark concluded with, “The MBO process is without doubt an emotional rollercoaster for both buyers & sellers. We are all pleased the process has finally been completed & wish Gordon & Trevor the very best with their new challenges, they’ll certainly be missed. The management team used Clearwater Corporate Finance as advisors (thanks to Nick & Marc), and Hammonds as their solicitors(thanks to Tim & Jonathan). I’d like to thank them for helping us get through this in one piece!”
The entire share capital of Fisher Outdoor Leisure Plc was purchased. The management team of Fisher Outdoor Leisure Ltd have 51% controlling equity of the business. (Press Release)