QEP UK

Selection of Tiling Tools

QEP UK is now a standalone manufacturer and supplier of tiling, flooring and hardware tools and accessories in both the DIY and trade sectors, providing premium products to consumers, trade and retailers. Its products are sold in various UK home improvement stores and trade merchants, including B&Q, Wickes, Topps Tiles, Screwfix, Homebase and Travis Perkins.

Based in Burton on Trent in the Midlands, the former UK subsidiary of global American-based QEP Co Inc was acquired by the Boyce Family Group in a management buyout in 2023.

Founded in 1979, Florida-based QEP Co., markets over 8,000 products under various brand names that are well respected in their market niches. It has offices throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. As part of a strategy to simplify its business, QEP had signalled its intention to sell off the UK subsidiary.

Paul Boyce, who had been a member of the QEP Group management team for 14 years and at the time was CEO of international operations, set up his own UK-based management team for the corporate buyout. This also comprised of his wife, Sarah Boyce, FD Steven White and newly appointed COO Cam Gradwell.

With potential volatility still in the marketplace, the UK management team needed to speed up the sale process, sourcing the necessary funding in a timely manner was crucial. Cam, a chartered accountant who previously worked at Deloitte’s, called on the services of Compass Business Finance through family friend Jordan Pocock.

The requirement was for an ABL (Asset-Based Lending) agreement to help facilitate the buyout. An NDA was signed and within weeks heads of terms were agreed with Close Brothers. Compass pledged full support to ensure timescales were met and expectations managed.

Cam Gradwell

Cam, who was on holiday when the call came through, urgently set up a Teams meeting. He said: “We had been going through one of the major banks for funding, but it was going to take a lot longer than we wanted. Our requirement was for a flexible facility that we could use going forward as a business. We knew that because of the strength of our business, we didn’t need to offer an equity share or anything, because for us, it was a straightforward loan really.

 

As part of that, Compass came in, managed to secure the funds with Close Brothers for us and did the deal quickly. I worked closely together with Jordan who was incredibly helpful from start to finish and guided us through each step of the way. In the end, securing this finance through Compass was relatively straightforward. It was an easy, dynamic negotiation.

These acquisitions are highly intensive, and you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders. The personal, collaborative relationship with Compass enabled me not to have to worry about that side of acquisition. I could focus more on the legal situation and other commercial matters.”

The multi-million-pound finance deal has also paved the way for significant investments across the Group, including doubling the size and modernising one of their manufacturing facilities. More staff have been employed including Steve Collinge, the new Group Managing Director of QEP UK Ltd. Paul Boyce remains as CEO.

Cam concluded: “Had we continued with our usual bank, I believe it would probably have taken us up to an extra four months, and even then, we could have been potentially turned down for the funding. Fortunately, we got the green light through Compass, but you never know until the deal is signed do you, especially with the market as it is. We were under time pressures to close the deal.

So, instead of closing the deal probably taking at least a year with a bank, we closed it over 6 months with Compass. We are all highly impressed with the first-class service we received from start to finish. I couldn’t ask for more.”

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