Business Growth Fund commits £3 million to Flowline to part-fund acquisition

Flowline has turned to institutional capital as a way of financing the acquisition of Clearaway Drainage Services.

Having grown revenues to £8 million for the year ending July 2014, drainage contractor Flowline has charged itself for further growth by taking on external finance.

The bank-backed £2.5 billion Business Growth Fund (BGF) has stepped in as backer and has helped recruit a new non-executive chairman in the form of former Evander Glazing & Locks CEO Alan Horton.

Set up in 1991, Flowline is led by founder and managing director Barry Robins and provides commercial drainage services including CCTV pipeline surveying, high pressure water jetting and waste recycling.

As a result of the investment from the BGF, Flowline has purchased Clearaway Drainage Services, for an undisclosed amount, to add breadth in the rail and industrial markets. The deal is also said to provide skills in relining and robotic cutting – two further ‘technically complex service lines’.

Robins comments, ‘Having built up a profitable and highly regarded business in the sector, I am convinced that now is the time to take advantage of a capital injection and combine it with our expertise to grow the business faster and further.

‘The investment will allow us to build our fleet and equipment, make value-enhancing acquisitions and recruit additional experience into the business.’

More on recent Business Growth Fund deals:

From its bases in Essex, Surrey and Hertfordshire, Flowline has a staff of 85. It will now invest in building out the senior management team and training employees in the new services and markets.

The BGF has now made in excess of ten investments during 2014 in sectors ranging from ceramics to retail. Investment director Rory Pope believes that Flowline operates is well established in a ‘robust sector’.

‘Flowline has a clear growth strategy based on continuing to win new contracts for its existing services, and expansion into new markets where substantial opportunities exist such as rail and industrial, supported by the strategic acquisition of Clearaway.

‘We are looking forward to partnering with Barry and the management team to drive the business forward and capitalise on the opportunities that exist for them.’

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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Business Growth Fund