Franchise Brands agrees £49.8m takeover of Filta Group

February 16, 2022

Multi-brand franchise business, Franchise Brands, has agreed a takeover of Warwickshire-based commercial kitchen services provider Filta in an all-share offer valued at £49.8m.

Macclesfield-headquartered Franchise Brands has agreed to pay 1.157 new share in exchange for each Filta share.

 
The enlarged group will have a combined market capitalisation of approximately £191.2m.

The boards of the two companies have recommended the deal.

Stephen Hemsley, Executive Chairman of Franchise Brands, said: “Bringing the businesses together will enable us to offer a broader range of complementary services to our combined customer base, providing competitive advantages in our ambition to offer a “Water In, Waste Out” service to commercial customers and significant opportunities for future growth.

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“With the benefit of greater scale, we will be able to leverage the combined group’s expertise and shared services, including our scaleable technology, to drive future growth in revenue and profits, including by growing and developing Filta’s UK and European franchise business.

“The Enlarged Group will also be well positioned to expand in North America, given Filta’s well-established and successful franchise business in the region.”

Jason Sayers, CEO of Filta, said: “Filta delivered a strong performance in 2021 as the restaurant and hospitality market recovered from the impact of Covid-19.

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“Despite some ongoing Covid challenges, new contracts were won, and we bounced back to deliver a record second half, which is testament to the resilience of our business model and the exemplary efforts of the entire team.

“Franchise Brands offers an ideal home for our customers, business, talented staff and franchisees.

Related: FiltaFry Franchise

“Our Board believes there are greater benefits to be had from the more diversified range of services the larger group will offer, as well as a broader customer base and greater shared resources to support future growth.”

Filta’s chief executive Jason Sayers will join the Franchise Brands board as managing director of Filta and Brian Hogan will become group chief financial officer.

By Shelina Begum

Source: The Business Desk

AIM-listed Franchise Brands to purchase up to £210,000 more of its own shares following stellar 2021

January 4, 2022

AIM-listed Franchise Brands has declared its intention to continue buying back shares over the coming six months following a strong year of trading.

 
The Macclesfield-based company said it would purchase up to £210,000 more of its ordinary shares at 0.5p each through its Employee Benefit Trust after already acquiring nearly 250,000 in the last half of this year.

It comes a month after the firm bought franchise management software system developer Azura Group and posted record earnings for the first nine months of 2021 in its third-quarter results.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

This was largely on the back of record system sales by franchisees at its commercial drainage business Metro Rod, which surged by 32 per cent on the same time last year.

Thanks to this impressive performance, bosses at the group said they were confident of hitting market expectations this year, forecasting turnover of £100million and adjusted underlying earnings of £15million by the end of 2023.

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For the first six months of 2021, the business also registered an 18 per cent rise in revenues and a 200 per cent increase in pre-tax profits of £2.6million.

Franchise Brands, which has over 400 franchisees across its network of companies, has performed very strongly during the coronavirus pandemic, although it admitted to a weakening of trade at the beginning of the global health crisis.

Alongside Metro Rod, it has six other leading brands as part of its portfolio that are divided between business-to-business and business-to-consumer divisions.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Its B2B arm has Metro Rod, national plumbing franchise Metro Plumb and pump supply, installation and maintenance business Willow Pump, while its B2C arm includes Ovenclean, mobile car paintwork repair specialist ChipsAway and dog home boarding services Barking Mad.

Shares in the business were up 2.7 per cent to 151.5p during the late morning on Friday, meaning their value has increased by about half in 2021.

By HARRY WISE

Source: This is Money

Franchise Brands posts record sales at Metro Rod

July 5, 2021

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) said its drainage solutions division Metro Rod has posted record sales for the six months to 30 June.

 
System sales at the B2B division increased by 21% compared with 2020 and 17% compared with 2019 to £23.8mln, with June in particular surging £4.3mln, up 41% from last year and 26% from 2019.

The wider group has benefited from the easing of lockdown restrictions across the UK.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement Franchises in the UK

Willow Pumps, which was acquired in October 2019, has greater exposure to hospitality and was more impacted by lockdown, but invoiced sales were up 9% compared with 2020.

The franchise business said Willow Pumps continues to facilitate the growth of pump-related work within Metro Rod, where pumps system sales have jumped 159% to £700,000.

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The B2C division has also performed strongly, and 40 new franchisees have been recruited taking the number of B2C franchisees to 393, the AIM-listed company said.

It added that it should deliver a full-year performance at least in line with market expectations.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“I have been pleased by the speed at which the demand for our services has grown as the lockdown restrictions have been lifted,” said executive chairman Stephen Hemsley.

“Throughout the pandemic I have been particularly encouraged by the resilience of our franchisees. Their entrepreneurial spirit and continued commitment to serve our customers gives me huge confidence in the future of Franchise Brands.”

By Giulia Bottaro

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands looking for acquisitions as it emerges from lockdown

August 6, 2020

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) said revenues rose by 21% in the half-year to end-June, 2020, and all its businesses are now up and running again as coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic restrictions ease.

 
Turnover was boosted by the acquisition of Willow Pumps, which like its other B2B business, MetroRod, was classified an essential business during the lockdown.

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Franchise Brands’ consumer business were shut due to the restrictions and group like-for-like revenue dropped to £18mln from £20.1mln during the half-year. Underlying profits (adjusted EBITDA) increased by 13% to £2.8mln, though after charges related to COVID-19, statutory profits fell to £0.9mln from £1.8mln.

The interim dividend was maintained at 0.3p.

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In the results statement, Stephen Hemsley, Franchise Brands’ executive chairman, said it had been a robust first half with a strong first quarter followed by a period of tight cost control during the lockdown period.

“This highlights the underlying resilience of our business model, underpinned by our network of 435 franchisees supporting a broad range of commercial and domestic customers.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“Following a successful [£13.6mln] Placing, our strengthened balance sheet will allow us to take advantage of both organic growth opportunities and earnings-enhancing acquisitions as the lockdown eases,” he added.

By Philip Whiterow

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands raises £14mln as plumbing businesses see continuing demand

May 24, 2020

Franchise Brand PLC (LON:FRAN) said its drain specialist businesses – Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps – have seen ‘continuing demand” for a majority of their services, having been designated as essential under the UK government’s pandemic rules, and the group also revealed it has raised £14mln via a share placing.

 
In a trading update released after the close on Monday, the franchise business said it expected the B2B division, which includes Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow, to continue to trade profitably during the coronavirus lockdown, adding that in the first quarter of the year, underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the division were 42% higher year-on-year, while growth in Metro Rod system sales accelerated to 19% from 14%.

Meanwhile, the company’s B2C division, which includes its brands ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, was 5% ahead of the prior year in the first quarter, although the company said it had “significantly reduced or eliminate” franchise fees as the pandemic impacted customer demand for the franchisee’s products from early March.

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Franchise Brands added that it has taken a number of actions to preserve cash and strengthen liquidity, including staff furloughs and salary cuts for its board and senior management.

Looking ahead, the company said its first-quarter EBITDA was up 27% on the prior year, and that this added to its cost-saving measures meant it should be able to generate a positive but reduced adjusted EBITDA through the period, with a “strong recovery” anticipated in the key B2B division as business premises were re-occupied.

The B2C arm is expected to mount a slower recovery, with the firm estimating a full quarter for activity levels and income to be fully restored.

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Share placing

Franchise Brands also said it carried out a placing at 90p a share that raised £14mln with directors and senior management putting up £2.07mln. Executive chairman Stephen Hemsley subscribed for £1.35mln worth of shares to take his stake to 23.2%.

As well as strengthening the balance sheet, Franchise Brands said the placing will help position it to take advantage of “earnings-enhancing external growth opportunities”, saying it had “considerable interest” in acquisitions to expand the range of services offered by Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“The group had strong momentum ahead of the [coronavirus] crisis, with Q1 trading showing significant growth on the prior year and a continuation of the accelerating rate of sales growth in its B2B division in particular.

“We have taken all the necessary actions to enable us to trade through this current uncertain period profitably, albeit at a significantly lower level”, Hemsley said in a statement.

The company’s shares rose 4% to 96p on Tuesday.

By Calum Muirhead

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands rises as plumbing businesses see continuing demand

April 21, 2020

Franchise Brand PLC’s (LON:FRAN) drain specialist businesses, Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps, have seen ‘continuing demand” for a majority of their services, which have been designated as essential under the UK government’s pandemic rules.

 
In a trading update released after the close on Monday, the franchise business said it expected the B2B division, which includes Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow, to continue to trade profitably during the coronavirus lockdown, adding that in the first quarter of the year, underlying earnings (EBITDA) for the division were 42% higher year-on-year, while growth in Metro Rod system sales accelerated to 19% from 14%.

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Meanwhile, the company’s B2C division, which includes its brands ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad, was 5% ahead of the prior year in the first quarter, although the company said it had “significantly reduced or eliminate” franchise fees as the pandemic impacted customer demand for the franchisee’s products from early March.

Franchise Brands added that it has taken a number of actions to preserve cash and strengthen liquidity, including staff furloughs and salary cuts for its board and senior management.

Looking ahead, the company said its first-quarter EBITDA was up 27% on the prior year, and that this added to its cost-saving measures meant it should be able to generate a positive but reduced adjusted EBITDA through the period, with a “strong recovery” anticipated in the key B2B division as business premises were re-occupied.

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The B2C arm is expected to mount a slower recovery, with the firm estimating a full quarter for activity levels and income to be fully restored.

Share placing

Franchise Brands also unveiled plans for a share placing to issue up to 19.9% of its current issued share capital, with certain directors and senior management to participate to raise a minimum of £2mln.

The placing will be conducted through an accelerated bookbuild by Dowgate Capital and Allenby Capital and began immediately following the announcement on Monday.

The company said the placing will provide additional working capital funding, improve its liquidity and eliminate its overall net debt as part of efforts to ensure it has “a strong balance sheet and is well placed for the recovery once the [coronavirus] crisis subsides”.

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Franchise Brands added that the placing will help position it to take advantage of “earnings-enhancing external growth opportunities”, saying it had “considerable interest” in acquisitions to expand the range of services offered by Metro Rod, Metro Plumb and Willow Pumps.

“The group had strong momentum ahead of the [coronavirus] crisis, with Q1 trading showing significant growth on the prior year and a continuation of the accelerating rate of sales growth in its B2B division in particular. We have taken all the necessary actions to enable us to trade through this current uncertain period profitably, albeit at a significantly lower level”, Franchise Brands’ executive chairman Stephen Hemsley said in a statement.

“We see considerable opportunity across our businesses and this Placing will ensure that we are very well-positioned to capitalise on external growth opportunities as we emerge from the [coronavirus] crisis”, he added.

The company’s shares rose 1.1% to 93p in early trading on Tuesday.

By Calum Muirhead

Source: Proactive Investors

Franchise Brands confirms significant growth in 2019 and strong start to current year

January 16, 2020

Franchise Brands PLC’s (LON:FRAN) results for 2019 will show significant growth over the previous year and at least match market expectations for £40.6mln of sales and underlying profits of £5.2mln.

 
Drain maintenance group Metro Rod led the improvement with 14% higher sales compared with 10% growth a year earlier, while recent acquisition Willow Pumps has integrated well and broadened the range Metro Rod can offer.

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Trading in 2020 had also started well, the AIM-listed group said, with job intake at Metro Rod and Willow Pumps up on the same period in 2019 and a strong start to the year for franchisee recruitment in the B2C brands.

A net 17 new franchisees were added over 2019 to its consumer-facing brands – ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad – to take the number to 404.

Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman said: “The Group has delivered a strong performance in 2019, which, in combination with the recent acquisition of Willow Pumps, leaves us confident about the prospects for Franchise Brands as we enter 2020.”

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“Longer-term, the Group has a significant opportunity to provide a ‘Water In, Waste Out’ range of drainage, pumps and plumbing-related services on a national basis,” he added.

By Philip Whiterow

Source: Proactive Investors

‘Strategic acquisition’ by Franchise Brands

December 17, 2019

The multi-brand franchisor, Franchise Brands, has announced the acquisition of Willow Pumps, a water pump supply, installation and servicing business to complement and expand its plumbing brand, Metro Rod.

 
A family-owned business, Willow Pumps was founded in 1992 by Ian Lawrence to offer pump installation both below and above-ground. It offers routine servicing to its clients to reduce pump failures or blockages and has built a client base of customers in the hospitality, retail and housebuilding sectors.

Metro Rod sees the acquisition as a strategic opportunity for the company and its franchisees who will be given the opportunity to upskill, identify and self-deliver pump work utilising Willow Pumps’ expertise. This additional pump work is also expected to enhance franchisee’s profitability said the company.

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Lawrence will continue as managing director of Willow Pumps, which currently employs 74 people, including 35 engineers, the majority of which operate from its main business premises at Aylesford, Kent. Lawrence will also join the senior management team at Franchise Brands.

Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman of Franchise Brands, commented: “The acquisition of Willow Pumps, a highly respected business and one of the leaders in the market, which Metro Rod has already worked alongside, provides the optimum way for Metro Rod to enter the specialist pump sector and develop this expertise across our franchise community.

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“The long-term aim of the Group is to be able to serve our valued commercial customers with a “water in, waste out” range of plumbing-related services on a national basis. I am really looking forward to working with Ian Lawrence and his high-quality management team to create a national leader for drainage, pump and plumbing services.”

Lawrence said: “I am very excited about building on our success to date as part of a larger, publicly-quoted group with significant ambitions in the drainage, pumps and plumbing markets. The Group’s management and wider resources will be of particular value as we continue to grow Willow Pumps under Franchise Brands’ ownership.”

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Metro Rod has a national network of more than 400 engineers working from 43 franchised depots. It offers a range of services from CCTV surveys and drain clearance to fat and grease management. The company also supports commercial clients with reactive and planned preventative maintenance services.

Source: Franchise World

Franchises expand into Ireland for first time

December 12, 2019

Metro Rod and Barking Mad – both of which are part of the Franchise Brands group – have entered Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for the first time.

 
The former is a commercial drainage specialist which has opened a franchise in Dundonald, allowing it to directly provide its drain clearance and maintenance services across Northern Ireland.

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It now has 43 depots across the UK.

Dog sitting services provider Barking Mad has launched its first international franchise in the Galway and Limerick area as part of its ambitious expansion plans.

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Stephen Hemsley, executive chairman of Macclesfield-based Franchise Brands, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our presence in Ireland with new franchisees for Metro Rod and Barking Mad, which we believe bring differentiated services to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, respectively.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

“This further move into Ireland demonstrates the continued momentum at Franchise Brands as we continue to invest in the infrastructure to support the development, growth and profitability of our franchisees.

Related: Barking Mad Franchise

“I am certain that our new franchisees have a bright future and I look forward to seeing them grow successful businesses.”

Source: Insider Media

Franchise Brands acquires Willow Pumps to expand Metro Rod network

October 10, 2019

Franchise Brands PLC (LON:FRAN) has acquired Willow Pumps to expand its existing drain care and repair business, Metro Rod.

Bringing the two brands together, the long-term goal is to provide a “water in, waste out” range of plumbing-related services to commercial customers in the UK.

 
Franchise Brands, an international franchisor providing the same support services to a range of businesses, is acquiring 100% of Willow Pumps for an initial £5mln and a deferred consideration of up to £7.5mln, payable over the next five years based on performance.

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Willow Pumps recorded revenue of £12.4mln, underlying earnings (EBITDA) of £1.6mln and a profit before tax of £1.1mln in the year ended 31 December 2018.

The water pump supply, installation and servicing business will complement the services provided by Metro Rod, a drain and care repair business acquired two years ago, at the centre of a five-year strategy.

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Metro Rod, where the plan is to boost fee income four-fold by 2023, recorded 15% sales growth in the year-to-date, while last year they were up 6%.

The company will open “shortly” a new depot in Lincoln and began trading at its first Norther Ireland facility last week for Metro Rod.

Related: Metro Rod Franchise

Shares were up 11.58% to 92.05p in the early morning.

By Giulia Bottaro

Source: Proactive Investors