A selection of our exits

 

The Gym Group

Gym Group logo

 

Dates
May 2007 - June 2013

Bridges Ventures investment
n/a

Company exit value
n/a

Multiple
3.7x

 

The Gym pioneered the concept of low-cost gyms in the UK, opening its first site in Hounslow in 2008 and was a flagship investment for Bridges for over 5 years. It provides state-of-the-art fitness facilities in purpose-built gyms which are open 24 hours and located mainly in underserved areas, offering flexible memberships from as little as £10.99 per month.

The transaction represents a 50% IRR and 3.7x multiple for investors in Bridges funds, of which a minority was rolled over to retain a 25% stake in The Gym going forward, enabling Bridges investors to benefit from the future growth in the business.  The Gym operates from 36 sites nationwide, with plans to open 20 to 30 new gyms per year.

Philip Newborough, Managing Partner & Co-Founder at Bridges Ventures, will remain on the board.  He said today: “Since the opening of the first site five years ago we have been working very closely with John and his team in building a business that has delivered on both its commercial and social impact goals. The company is now entering a new phase of development and we are delighted it has been able to raise the capital needed to fulfil its ambitious expansion plans.  We are looking forward to continuing to work with the management team and Phoenix Equity Partners in this next exciting phase.”

www.thegymgroup.com  

Harlands of Hull

Harland Labels logo

 

Dates
September 2003 - June 2005

Bridges Ventures investment
£0.73m

Company exit value
£8m

Multiple
3.3x

 

Harlands provides self-adhesive labelling solutions, primarily to the personal care, cosmetics, health and beauty and alcoholic beverages markets.

In September 2003, Bridges Ventures, together with YFM, jointly backed the £4 million management buy-out of Harlands.  Harlands had recently been in administration and the investment was to back the management team to complete a turnaround. A member of the Bridges Entrepreneur’s Club, who had built up and sold two successful beauty products companies, was appointed to the board

Harlands has been based in Hull since 1832 and is in one of the 2% most deprived wards of England on the Index of Multiple Deprivation. The initial investment protected over 50 jobs and subsequently, new jobs were created as well.

In June 2005, Bridges Ventures and YFM sold Harlands to trade buyer, the Clondalkin Group for £8.5m. The sale represented a money multiple of 3.3 x for investors and was a strategic purchase for Clondalkin

Michele Giddens, Executive Director at Bridges Ventures said:
“We are delighted to have achieved an excellent first exit for the Bridges Community Venture Fund and congratulate the Harlands management team on completing such a successful trade sale to the Clondalkin Group. The mission of Bridges Ventures is to invest in businesses like Harlands which have strong commercial potential and which can deliver attractive financial returns whilst bringing social and economic benefits to under-invested areas such as Hull. We hope that this success will encourage investors to participate in this kind of investment in the future.”

www.harlands.co.uk  

 

 

SimplySwitch

 

 

Dates
December 2002 - August 2006

Bridges Ventures investment
£0.3m

Company exit value
£22m

Multiple
22x

 

SimplySwitch is an independent and free online and telephone based price comparison and switching service that offers consumers immediate, impartial information on the most economical and appropriate gas, electricity, home phone, broadband and mobile phone suppliers.

SimplySwitch was one of our earliest investments and a start-up at the time of the initial commitment of £125K. We later followed our investment to a total of £345K and worked closely with the SimplySwitch management team to grow the company from an energy focused telephone based service to a highly successful multi-channel multi-product company.

As a result of our investment, the company located itself in one of our target areas where the company created over 80 jobs. SimplySwitch also raised over £500k for charities with whom they had established affinity relationships. It was also the first service of its kind to be accessible by telephone as well as the web, making it easier for those who lack the resources or know-how to go online to save money on their household bills.

In August 2006, Bridges Ventures sold SimplySwitch to The Daily Mail and General Trust plc for £22m. The exit returned £7.5m which represented a money multiple of c.22 x for investors.

Alistair Tillen, Co-CEO Simply Switch said: "It represents a really good deal for the company that I co-founded in 2002 to enable customers to compare prices of energy bills, credit cards and telephone and broadband providers."

www.simplyswitch.com  

 

 

HS Atec

HS Atec logo

 

 

Date
March 2003 – February 2007

Bridges Ventures investment
£1m

Company exit value
£3m

Multiple
2x

 

HS Atec is a distributor of new spare parts for heavy goods vehicles and trailers. The company stocks over 10,000 parts, which it delivers to customers using its own fleet of vehicles.

Bridges Ventures originally invested £1 million in March 2003 in a combination of equity and loan stock to support a management buyout of the business. Following our investment, the business grew successfully, with sales rising from £7.1m in 2003 to £8.4m in 2006 and the business moving from loss to profit.
HS Atec, based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire with seven regional branches, is located in one of the most under-invested areas of the UK. The investment in the business saved over 30 jobs in the area.

In February 2007, the business was sold back to the management team. The return to investors was more than a 2x multiple, taking account of interest and dividends.

Neil Fattorini from HS Atec said:
“HS Atec has been very successful since Bridges supported our MBO in 2003 and I am delighted that the team now have the opportunity to take the business further forward. Our recently opened seventh branch in Durham is tangible evidence of both our success over the last four years and our drive for profitable growth.”

www.hsatec.co.uk  

 

 

The Office Group

The Office logo

 

 

Date
September 2003 - August 2010

Bridges Ventures investment
£600k original with follow ons

Company exit value
£43.3m

Multiple
2x 

 

The Office, the concept for which was founded by Charlie Green, Olly Olsen with Bridges Ventures, is a specialist provider of flexible office space with a portfolio of six sites in central London and one in Bristol, totalling 1350 workstations. Dedicated to helping businesses succeed, The Office specialises in creating unique offices that are simple and considered in design. A strong regeneration and local community focus also ensures a sustainable and eco-friendly working environment. The business provides a supportive base for some 340 entrepreneurial and fast-growing, mainly small - medium sized, UK companies.

In keeping with Bridges Ventures' mission to create a positive social and environmental impact in all of its investments, all of The Office's six freehold buildings and one leasehold building are in regeneration areas. Great emphasis is also placed on ensuring that the offices progressively minimise their environmental impact through the likes of rainwater harvesting, recycling programmes, wind turbines, solar panels, low energy lighting and wormeries being used across the estate.  

Philip Newborough, Chief Executive of Bridges Ventures, said of the sale: "The Office has been a powerful investment for Bridges Ventures, proving the opportunity we see to build value through investing with our regeneration and environmental criteria.  As The Office now enters its next phase of growth, with new investors to assist its expansion, I look forward to seeing its business continue to thrive alongside those of the entrepreneurs who occupy its facilities.

www.theofficegroup.co.uk  

 

 

The Hoxton

 

 

 

Date
April 2004 - May 2012

Bridges Ventures investment £2.1m 

Company exit value
n/a

Multiple
7.3x

 

The Hoxton was named in GQ's "100 Best Things in The World" in December 2006, and in March 2007, was included in Conde Nast Traveller's Hot List of the 100 coolest hotels on the planet. It has also won Best UK Hotel Award at the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Since its initial opening, The Hoxton has consistently achieved 90% or greater occupancy rates for its 208 rooms.

The initial investment in The Hoxton was made through Bridges Ventures' Sustainable Growth Funds, which aim to deliver both positive financial returns and social and environmental benefits, and the investment fulfils one of Bridges Ventures key impact themes - investing in underserved areas. The foundation of The Hoxton played a critical part in the regeneration of Shoreditch and Hackney, which is in the bottom 3% of deprived wards in England and over 70% of The Hoxton Hotel staff live in underserved areas.

The exit delivered a return of £13.3m to Bridges Ventures‟ Sustainable Growth Fund I, representing an IRR of 47% and 8.8x the total investment, and £1.9m to Sustainable Growth Fund II, representing an IRR of 35% and 3.4x the total investment.

Anne-Marie Harris, Partner, Sustainable Growth Funds, at Bridges Ventures commented: "The example of The Hoxton Hotel demonstrates how visionary concepts and decisive financing can transform industries and areas alike. We have played a clear role in promoting the regeneration of Hoxton and Shoreditch, as well as providing tourists, businessmen and other visitors with low-cost, high-quality hotel space in the heart of London. We have also succeeded in delivering an excellent return to our investors, proving once again how financial return and social benefit go hand in hand."

 

www.hoxtonhotels.com

 

 

 

Pure Washrooms

 

Pure Washrooms

 

Date
August 2004 - June 2012

Bridges Ventures investment £0.42m 

Company exit value
n/a

Multiple
3.4x

 

Pure Washrooms is a Coventry-based washroom services business which installs and services washroom equipment in commercial premises.  The exit delivered a return representing a 22.4% IRR and 3.4x of total investment for Bridges Ventures’ Sustainable Growth Fund I.

Bridges first invested in Pure Washrooms as a start-up in 2004, backing management team Martin Pugh and Simon Maitland.

Following the initial investment, the company was located in an underserved area of Coventry, fulfilling one of Bridges’ impact themes of investing in deprived areas to stimulate the local economy and create jobs.

Philip Newborough, Managing Partner at Bridges Ventures, said: “For the last eight years we have been working very closely with Pure Washrooms’ management team, supporting them with their business plan and strategy for growth. The company has come a long way since our initial investment, positively contributing to the local economy and creating jobs and we wish the management team every success for the future.”

 

www.purewashrooms.co.uk

 

 

 

Whelan Refining Ltd

 

Whelan Refining Ltd

 

Date
May 2006 - February 2013

Bridges Ventures investment £0.45m 

Company exit value
n/a

Multiple
4.7x

 

Operating the only facility of its kind in the UK, Whelan Refining Ltd recycles waste oil to produce base oil - the base for all industrial and automotive lubricants.The exit delivered a return representing a 33% IRR and 4.7x the total investment for Bridges Ventures’ Sustainable Growth Fund I.

Bridges first invested in Whelan in 2006, alongside Catapult Venture Managers Ltd, to fund the refurbishment and re-commissioning of a redundant oil refinery in Stoke-on-Trent.

Since 2006 Whelan has helped to successfully divert over 100,000 tonnes of waste oil from use as a low grade fuel while producing net savings of over 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to this positive environmental impact, the plant operates out of Stoke-on-Trent which is in the most deprived 8% of wards in England. Whelan has created 31 jobs as well as investing much on suppliers in the area.

Philip Newborough, Managing Partner at Bridges Ventures, said: "For the last seven years we’ve been working very closely with the management team to support the growth of the business and we are delighted with its achievements - showing once again that strong financial returns and positive social and environmental impacts can go hand-in-hand. We wish John Whelan and his team every success for the future."

www.whelanrefining.co.uk