Medical supplies firm bought for £1.4m

One of the UK’s largest suppliers of X-ray protection equipment has been acquired by its former sales manager in a £1.4m deal.

RothbandWS Rothband & Co, which is based in Haslingden, has been acquired by Paul Dixon with backing from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Finance and Seneca Partners.

A subsequent loan from The North West Fund for Loans Plus, which is managed by FW Capital, will support the company’s growth under the new ownership.

The acquisition will safeguard the jobs of the company’s nine staff and allow the previous owners, Michael and Lesley Todhunter, to retire. The new owner is planning to expand the business and create a further five jobs in the next three years.

Established in 1860 by WS Rothband, the company manufactures X-ray protection products for the healthcare and nuclear industries, including the lead aprons worn by radiographers. It also offers a range of physiotherapy equipment and digital imaging products.

The Todhunters have run the business since 1984 when they acquired it from the founder’s son Jeffrey Rothband, who was Mrs Todhunter’s uncle.

Paul Dixon, a former NHS radiographer, spent five years with Rothband as sales manager and product trainer. Since leaving in 2007, he has worked with larger medical device companies in a global marketing role.

Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures, which manages Rosebud Finance, said: “Paul Dixon has spent his career in the radiography sector and has an in-depth understanding of the market. He has identified a range of opportunities for growth. He is passionate about the business and is ideally placed to take it forward.”

Andy Traynor, senior investment executive at FW Capital made the loan to WS Rothband. He said: “WS Rothband is an established business with a significant share of the UK market. I’m delighted that the loan from The North West Fund for Loans Plus will provide the company with the growth capital it needs to expand and we look forward to seeing it thrive under Paul’s leadership.”

FW Capital and Ultimate Invoice Finance provided working capital to fund post-acquisition growth. Legal advice was provided to Seneca by Napthens and Taylors were legal advisers to Paul Dixon. Jim Akrill, corporate finance Partner at PM+M, commented: “This was a challenging and complex deal to do but we were able to put together a funding package with a balanced mix of debt and equity which will allow the business to drive its exciting growth plans.”