Family firm completes buy-out
The businessman who founded the UK’s only manufacturer of steam cleaning machines has completed a buy-out of the company with funding from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Finance.The deal has allowed Bob Pownall and his family to take full control of Matrix Cleaning Systems by acquiring the shares held by two of the original investors. It will also secure the jobs of all 14 staff and ensure the business remains at its current site in Leyland.
Bob, his daughter Natalie and son Gavin now plan to grow the company and take on a further 12 people over the next three years.Matrix was established by Bob in 2001 as Steam Clean UK, a supplier of equipment to remove chewing gum from high streets, and started to manufacture its own steam cleaning machines several years later.
Matrix now manufactures a range of 18 machines for domestic, commercial and industrial applications. Its products are used in hospitals, schools, shopping centres, restaurants and office buildings and are also popular with contract cleaning companies. It also manufactures own-label steam cleaning machines for international cleaning equipment companies.Matrix has a network of distributors across the UK and is already making sales overseas, but now plans to step up its export trade.
The Rosebud loan has allowed the Pownall family to acquire the shares held by two non-executive directors who invested in the early years and who now want to sell their stake in the business.Bob said: “The Rosebud funding has removed any uncertainty over the future by bringing full ownership within the family. This ensures we can continue manufacturing in Lancashire and press ahead with our plans to target the US and other overseas markets.”
Rosebud is a finance package supporting Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business. It is managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) - the county council's economic development company.Peter Rooney of Enterprise Ventures said: “Steam cleaning offers advantages over traditional cleaning methods, such as reduced water and detergent use and its ability to kill bacteria. There is a worldwide market for steam cleaning equipment. As the only manufacturer outside of Italy, Matrix is well placed to step up its export trade.”
County Councillor Niki Penney, chair of LCDL, said: "We're pleased that Rosebud is supporting this Lancashire-based family-run manufacturer. This will help the team at Matrix to keep existing jobs, while bringing new jobs to the county. "Advanced manufacturing is one of the key sectors which we're targeting due to its high growth potential. Rosebud aims to create an increasing number of better paid jobs and we are looking to support ambitious growing businesses."