FBC Manby Bowdler helps smooth path for management buyout

Content by:
Shanice Breeze - FBCMB
March 21, 2023

An award-winning legal firm with a strong track record of working with the manufacturing sector has helped complete a management buyout at a leading Midlands metal company.

ConeX legal partner FBC Manby Bowdler, which has branches across the West Midlands and Shropshire, was involved in the employee-buyout at Alloy Wire International (AWI) which will cement the firm’s long-term future. All 33 members of staff have become shareholders in the business, reinforcing a company-wide commitment to each other and to the 6000-strong global customer base.

AWI, which manufacturers wire, bars and wire rope in high performance exotic alloys, is now targeting £15m annual sales for the first time in its 77-year history.

FBC Manby Bowdler corporate partner James Sage advised the former owners as the senior management team of managing director Tom Mander, technical director Andrew Du Plessis and finance director Adam Shaw completed the purchase.

James said: “FBC Manby Bowdler has supported a number of MBOs as well as mergers and acquisitions in recent months and we’re delighted to have advised AWI’s former owners throughout this buyout.

“AWI has always invested in its people and we know it will go from strength to strength under new leadership, with previous MD Mark Venables moving into the role of chairman for the next five years.”

The new owners of AWI have also pressed the button on a near £1m investment drive that will see new wet drawing and single hole dry drawing machines arrive during the course of the year, along with an annealing line spooler and several hundred tonnes of raw material.

MD Tom Mander said: “This is another major milestone in the history of AWI and gives us the platform to capitalise on recent growth and massive export opportunities.

“The new owners have over 45 years’ combined experience of working here, so it was a natural progression for us to step forward and take the business on.

“There’s something very special about this business and this MBO ensures we maintain and cultivate this for the next 75 years.

“We will continue to focus on our USPs, which include delivering the fastest industry lead times, world class manufacturing quality and an expanding range of exotic alloys.

“It goes without saying that the technical expertise AWI is known for will continue to be a cornerstone of our approach.”

Today, AWI continues to operate across 15 different market sectors and, despite global supply chain disruption, is still delivering material from just three weeks from the order being placed.

Mark Venables, who led the previous MBO in 2013, is delighted that the new owners have come from within the company.

He said: “The new management team are well versed in the Alloy Wire International culture and will also bring a youthful exuberance, passion, and eagerness to innovate traditional processes and industry norms.

“They have already ring-fenced significant investment for the next five years and are keen to work on increasing our international network of agents, with discussions currently taking place on establishing a bigger presence in Egypt and the Middle East.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how Tom, Adam and Andrew take the business forward and achieve our aim of becoming a £15m business by the end of 2023.”

Alloy Wire International was also supported in the MBO by Andy Wyeth, corporate relationship director at HSBC Corporate Banking’s West Midlands Team, with existing accountant, BSN Associates, helping to structure the deal.

Legal representation for the buyers was by George Green LLP respectively.

Image details: (l-r) Mark Venables, Tom Mander, Adam Shaw and Andrew Du Plessis