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Portfolio News May 2014

Altitude Supports the MBO of James Tobias Limited


Altitude Partners, the regional investment fund based in Hampshire, has supported the Management Buy Out of James Tobias Limited, the UK’s leading provider of premium storage wall solutions for offices. Debt support came from NatWest Structured Finance. Francis Clark originated the transaction and provided support and advice to the management team through the transaction.

James Tobias has developed a market leading position in the design, supply and fitting of premium storage wall systems, engineered to maximize the efficient use of floor space in commercial offices, showrooms and schools.

The James Tobias product uses a unique system to construct dividing walls, which are also cupboards. The system also delivers the highest weight bearing capability within the industry. By combining both partitioning and storage together, the James Tobias product can save up to 50% of the floor space over conventional products. The products also include lockers, media walls and operable walls and are installed in a broad base of blue chip companies across the UK. The company manufactures from a 36,000 sqft factory in Bridgwater, Somerset and employs over 50 people.

The funding has allowed the management team of Phillip Jones, David McLaren and Jon Dibble to acquire the business from its retiring owner.

Philip Jones, Managing Director of James Tobias commented - “we are enjoying strong growth by supplying a premium quality product for the offices of businesses that are household names. Altitude have supported us through this MBO and with their experience and financial backing we can now capitalise on the demand for our products”.

Jonathan Simm of Altitude commented “We are very excited by the opportunity to work with the management of James Tobias Ltd to take advantage of the market growth opportunities and to build a bigger business in coming years. We hope to increase local employment in Bridgwater as the business expands.”

Simon White of Altitude commented, “We are delighted to be backing a UK manufacturing business to help its expansion. James Tobias has a very strong track record of product innovation combined with sound financial management.”

NatWest Structured Finance (Charles Davey, Matt Hatcher) provided a term loan facility alongside RBS Invoice Finance.

Altitude Partners were advised by Clarke Willmott (Simon Thomas, Robert Ridd, Hermione Coutts) and the management team were advised by Francis Clark (Mark Greaves, Nick Woodmansey) and Foot Anstey (Matt Stoate)

Isca Ventures (Mark Champion, Peter Doe) provided Financial due diligence. The Innovation Partnership (Nigel Woodruff) provided Commercial due diligence

Altitude Partners invest up to £3m in companies requiring development capital for organic growth, growth through acquisition or to support existing management teams undertake Management Buy-Outs, such as in this transaction.

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