Luxury furniture group secures BGF backing

Friday, 12th September 2014

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Canburg, the Wiltshire-based group behind luxury furniture brands Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson Furniture, has secured an £8m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

The capital will be used to accelerate Canburg’s UK growth and international expansion and will create 40 jobs at the Devizes-headquartered group. BGF will take a 20 per cent stake in the business in return for the investment.

“This is a really exciting time for Canburg,” said Leo Caplan, chief executive. “I first invested in these businesses because of my passion for the luxury furniture they both make.

“Canburg is proud of its highly skilled workforce, many of whom have been with the companies for decades. I started considering the strategic options for the group almost a year ago after being approached by prospective buyers, and instructed Cavendish Corporate Finance to assess these. I wasn’t looking to sell but started exploring how best to take the business to the next level.”

Caplan formed Canburg in 2009 to acquire Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson Furniture. He invested £10m in the businesses to return them to profitability.

The company achieved EBITDA of £2.1m in the year to 30 June 2013, with the figure expected to have surpassed £3m in the year to June 2014.

“I am delighted that in BGF we have found the perfect long-term partner to help us reach our full potential and create the value that clearly exists in this business,” he added.

“I am confident that, over the next five years, we can grow the business from its current valuation of over £50m (post investment) to a global luxury group worth in excess of £500m.”

Paul Oldham, regional director at BGF, said: “Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson Furniture represent the highest standards of British design and manufacturing, which are held in high esteem all over the world. Leo and his management team have very successfully capitalised on this, building an impressive international reputation and broad customer base.

“They have looked to BGF to put investment behind their ambition to create a truly global business; we share this vision and over the next few years fully expect to see Canburg take a dominant role among a select group of successful British design and manufacturing businesses operating on the international stage.”

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