£62m MBO at Lancaster sign media firm Metamark

Private equity firm Primary Capital Partners announced the completion of a £62 million management buyout of Lancaster-based sign vinyl and digital print media firm Metamark (UK) Limited from founder shareholders Mark Bateson and Mike Stuart.

“Metamark has outperformed the market as the leading manufacturer and distributor of self-adhesive sign vinyl and digital print media in the UK, Europe and around the world,” said Primary.

The Metamark management team is led by CEO Paul French and sales director Ian Simister.

“Paul and Ian have led the business for the last five years and in that time have presided over a doubling in revenue and profits,” said Primary.

“In the year ended 31st March 2017 Metamark had revenues of approximately £29 million, with one third coming from export sales to 40 countries.

“This growth has been driven by Metamark’s reputation for product quality and the highest levels of stock availability and customer service.”

Santander and Yorkshire Bank provided senior debt finance for the deal and working capital to help fund growth.

A KPMG corporate finance team led by Alex Hartley advised Primary on the investment.

The vendors were advised by CLB Coopers.

Matthew Enright will join Metamark as its Chief Finance Officer (CFO).

The deal was led by Iain Wolstenholme, Alistair Armstrong and Chris Hopwood at Primary.

Metamark is Primary’s fifth investment from its Primary IV Fund.

Iain Wolstenholme said: “Metamark is a highly differentiated market leader in its niche of self-adhesive signage materials with strong brand recognition and the highest standards of customer service.

“We are delighted to support Paul and his team in continuing to invest in further growth for Metamark over the coming years.”

Metamark CEO Paul French said: “We have some very exciting plans for Metamark.

“They will ensure that our growth continues on the upward trajectory we’ve established both in the UK and internationally.

“We have a planned programme of further investment in capital plant to strengthen our manufacturing and conversion and we’ll be investing in people so we can strengthen our team and reinforce our international stature.

“We’re taking our model to new markets too.

“Our technical leadership and service led ethics mean we can achieve scale in markets such as construction while growing opportunities in our established channels with new, product-led applications.

“In Primary, we have an investment partner who shares our ambition and values.”