Ashfield Mill changes hands through MBO

By Tim Aldred

10 Nov 2022

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Noted Burnley-based textiles firm Ashfield Mill and its two subsidiaries have been acquired through a management buyout.

The MBO was led by Simon Blackley, who has been a director at the business since 2009 and has been instrumental in the firm's growth through his work with co-owners and directors David and Megan Collinge.

The deal also includes John Spencer (Textiles) Limited and Ian Mankin Limited. These, and the parent company, will retain their respective identities and no jobs will be affected.

John Spencer was incorporated in 1971 but the business dates back 150 years. It has grown to become one of the leading weaving businesses in the UK making a wide range of fabrics in a diverse selection of yarns and raw materials.

The company, which sources raw materials from all over the world, manufactures fabrics to its customers’ own designs and specifications. All its fabrics are woven in its own mill which means all products produced by John Spencer can genuinely be labelled as “Made in Britain”.

End uses for its fabrics include interior furnishings, fashion, industrial, protective clothing, military uniforms, lamination, filtration, composites, footwear, luggage, automotive and parachutes. It has pioneered the use of organic and sustainable fabrics and offers additional research and development services.

Founded in 1983, Ian Mankin Limited is a weaver of designer furnishing fabrics, known for its distinctive colours and patterns. Its range also includes wallpapers and accessories.

Simon Blackley commented on the deal: “David and Megan have built a strong group of companies; I am excited to build on their success. I am looking forward to the prospect of further developing the business through innovation and creative change. It promises to be an exciting and immensely rewarding journey for me, our staff, our suppliers and customers alike.”

Exiting co-owner, David Collinge, said: “Being the sixth generation of our family to run the business and being part of the team and journey that has witnessed the Ashfield Mill group of companies develop into superior, widely recognised brands has been fantastic.

"The buyout represents the next chapter for some exciting developments, initiating even more growth, I have no doubt that under Simon’s leadership the businesses will continue to do amazing things.”

Jane Parry, managing partner and head of tax at PM+M, advised David and Megan Collinge on the key elements of the sale with Richard Robinson, Sharon Graves, Nicola Ciraolo and David Hill from Napthens advising on the legal aspects of the deal.

Jane Parry commented: “The business is a real Lancashire success story, and we were delighted to lead on the financial aspects of the deal. Simon has been an integral part of the firm’s success over the past 13 years and has a clear plan for growth so I’m sure it will go from strength to strength under his stewardship.”

Richard Robinson, corporate partner at Napthens, said: “John Spencer Textiles has been a staple of the British textile industry for more than 150 years. Born in Lancashire, the company’s longstanding reputation for quality, and commitment to embracing new technologies, has been key to its success."

Jim Akrill, consultant in PM+M’s corporate finance team, worked with Simon Blackley on the valuation, corporate finance and fundraising aspects of the acquisition.

Elaine Hurn, managing partner of Taylors Solicitors advised Simon Blackley and the MBO vehicle on the legal aspects of the acquisition together with corporate partner Matthew Catterall and property partner John Lomax.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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