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Wickes Completes Solar Fast Acquisition

Wickes Cardiff sign

Further to its announcement on 19 March 2024, Wickes Group Plc today [21st May] confirms that FCA approval has been received and the acquisition of a majority stake in leading solar installations business Solar Fast has completed. The terms of the deal remain as previously announced.

In March 2024, Wickes announced its intention to aquire 51% of the issued share capital of Gas Fast Limited (“the Business”), the parent company of leading solar installations company Solar Fast (“Solar Fast”) (“the Transaction”). The Business focuses on solar panels installations, alongside a smaller business installing gas boilers.

The acquisition will enable Wickes to expand its offering into the fast-growing market for home energy solutions, initially with solar and gas boilers and, in time, air source heat pumps and other services. The UK market for domestic solar installations is highly fragmented and is expected to expand significantly from an estimated £1.1bn in 2024 to £1.5bn in 20281 as homeowners and landlords retrofit their properties in order to save energy costs and reduce their environmental impact.

With its heritage as a trusted partner for major home improvement projects and installations, Wickes believes that it is well placed to take a leading share of this growing market and the Solar Fast acquisition enables it to expand its range of Design & Installation services.

David Wood, Chief Executive of Wickes, commented: “I am delighted to announce our acquisition of a majority stake in Solar Fast, a leading operator in the emerging and exciting market for energy saving solutions. This acquisition enables us to accelerate our Design & Installation growth lever, capitalising on our expertise in installing major home improvement projects.

“The Wickes brand has been trusted by home improvers for over 50 years and with  Solar Fast as part of our proposition we will be perfectly placed to support them with their energy saving plans.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome David Draper and his impressive team to the Wickes family and we look forward to delivering our exciting plans together”. 

David Draper, Founder and CEO of Solar Fast, commented: "This is tremendous news for Solar Fast. We're a family business and our vision has always been to become the number one provider in the UK for quality domestic solar installations and with the Wickes brand behind us, we are closer to achieving that vision. I, along with all of the Solar Fast team, are very much looking forward to being part of the Wickes family and to working together to make UK homeowners more energy independent."

Further information on Solar Fast and the Transaction
The Business will be fully consolidated into Wickes’ accounts upon completion. It is cash generative and profitable and is expected to be immediately accretive to group profits. 

Over 2022 and 2023 Solar Fast installed over 3,700 solar projects in customers’ homes. In the twelve months to 30 April 2023 the Business generated revenue of £33.1m and reported profit before tax of £3.9m. The solar market experienced a short-term peak in demand during the energy crisis of 2022/2023 and as such it is anticipated that both market demand and Solar Fast’s revenue will be lower in 2024 before growing again thereafter. As of 30 April 2023 the Business had gross assets of £5.9m and net assets of £3.8m.

Wickes will acquire the 51% equity stake from the Solar Fast founders based on a valuation for 100% of the Business of 7x EBITDA delivered in calendar year 2024, with a minimum valuation for 100% of the Business of £10.0m and a maximum of £36.0m, on a debt-free, cash-free basis. Wickes will pay £5.1m at completion of the Transaction as a minimum payment for the 51% equity stake, with the balance to be paid in early 2025. Wickes will fund the purchase price from existing cash reserves.

Wickes has an option to purchase the remaining 49% of the issued share capital of the Business. This option may be exercised during the five years following completion, in tranches of not less than 10% of the issued share capital, and is based on a pre-agreed valuation based on 6x LTM EBITDA at the time. 

The Founder and CEO of the Business, David Draper, will continue to lead the development and growth of the Business in collaboration with the Wickes team, who will help bring the Solar Fast proposition to Wickes customers in store and online. 

Source : Wickes Group plc

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24 May 2024

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