A Staffordshire-based luxury campervan business which employs about 25 people has transitioned to employee ownership.
Denby Campervans attracts customers from across the UK seeking to purchase a luxury VW Campervan converted to their own specification and bespoke design.
As well as designing and producing campervans, the company also manufactures campervan roofs supplied to other campervan conversion businesses throughout the UK.
Denby Campervans’ annual sales have also grown year-on-year over since it was established in 2008.
In 2018, it relocated to a new industrial estate on the outskirts of Leek town centre. The new premises, comprising offices, a customer showroom, a vehicle forecourt and a large manufacturing and vehicle preparation workspace, has accelerated growth in recent years.
Jonathan Downing will remain as managing director of the company and will continue to be supported by long-standing senior employees, headed by finance manager Emma Brown.
Downing said: “After spending over 15 year building the business whilst retaining the same key staff members, moving into employee ownership has ensured that Denby Campervans can secure its future along with that of its employees. By giving my team a real stake in the business, employee ownership will encourage greater employee engagement and a sense of true ownership of their work.
“I believe it will ensure we continue to drive forward and be the very best in our field.”
Castle Square Corporate Finance director Patrick Lynch and adviser Joe Potts led on the transaction, advising Denby Campervans on the deal value, structure and led a competitive fundraising process from which Shawbrook Bank emerged as the preferred funding partner.
Joe Potts said: “It is fantastic to be able to provide the management team with the opportunity to benefit from the company’s growth going forward and share in the rewards from all the hard work that they put into the business. I am sure that the company’s customers will also reap the rewards from this added incentive for the staff to drive success.”
Led by corporate partner Peter Ellis and supported by associate Rebekah Jones, the corporate law team at Stoke-on-Trent-based Beswicks Legal provided expert legal advice and support on the transaction.
Peter Ellis said: “Creating the employee ownership trust provided a route to achieve Jonathan’s succession planning objectives with employee involvement going forward providing a basis to build on the culture and success Jonathan has created.”
Matthew Greenhalgh, director in the corporate lending team at Shawbrook, added: “We’re proud to play a part in this next stage of Denby Campervan’s journey and look forward to seeing what the business can achieve under this new Employee Ownership Trust structure. EOTs are becoming an increasingly popular option and we’re happy to support them as a means to transfer full or partial ownership.
“As with every EOT transaction, teamwork was vital to the success of this transition, everyone involved was committed to delivering the desired outcome for Denby and worked closely together to get the job done.”
Other advisors on the transaction were Rob Fawke from Gunnercooke, who provided legal advice on the transaction to Shawbrook Bank, and the Manchester office of Beaver Struthers Chartered Accountants, which provided financial due diligence services to Shawbrook Bank.