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Grafton Group acquires StairBox for 44m


Grafton Group plc, the building materials distributor and DIY retailer with operations in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, is pleased to announce the acquisition of AVC (StairBox) Ltd, an industry leading UK manufacturer and distributor of bespoke wooden staircases trading as “StairBox”.

The consideration payable is £44 million on a cash and debt free basis including £4 million that is deferred until November 2022.

Founded in 1994, StairBox has a pioneering focus on the use of technology, operational expertise and a culture dedicated to continuous improvement that enables it to cost effectively manufacture an extensive range of high quality customised staircases.

It has developed an innovative software application that enables customers to easily and accurately design, visualise and price staircases on the StairBox website.  This is the initial step in an efficient manufacturing process undertaken at its state-of-the-art production facility in Stoke-on-Trent.

StairBox delivers staircase solutions directly to primarily trade customers operating in the residential repair, maintenance and improvement market across the UK and has a strong market position and brand that is synonymous with quality, value and exceptional customer service, supported by a team of technical advisors.  It offers unique, competitively priced products manufactured from high quality materials and delivered on time.

StairBox has an impressive track record of growth, a scalable operating model and the capacity to develop organically under the leadership of its experienced management team that will remain with the business.

StairBox reported revenue of £19.5 million and adjusted operating profit of £6.1 million for the year ended 31 March 2020.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gavin Slark, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton said today:

“StairBox is a dynamic manufacturing business with a best in class on-line solution at its core. It has an efficient production process, nationwide distribution and strong growth potential. The acquisition of StairBox is in line with our strategy of acquiring specialist high quality businesses with attractive returns. We are delighted with this acquisition opportunity and the skills and experience that the management team under the leadership of Alex Hancock will bring to the Group.”

Analysis & Opinion - Steve Collinge

Founded in 1994, StairBox is an industry-leading UK manufacturer and distributor of bespoke wooden staircases. In their latest accounts to year ending 31 March 2020, the company  generated a turnover of £19.5m, with an operating profit of £6.1m. The company is a high margin, attractive business in a unique market position delivering staircase solutions directly to primarily trade customers operating in the UK RMI market. It has an innovative software application that enables customers to design, visualise and price staircases on its website, which are then manufactured at its 100k sq ft factory in Stoke-on-Trent. The business offers nationwide delivery, with a 7-10 working day turnaround on staircases. The management team is staying with the business, providing continuity.

The acquisition of essentially a manufacturer by a retailer is not something we see regularly in the Home Improvement industry. However, as more and more brands develop a successful direct to consumer or direct to the trade channel, they are becoming of real interest to established retailers wanting to steal a march over the competition.

Source: Insight DIY Team & Grafton Group.

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01 December 2020

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