Juratek Ltd – Trade Sale

I’ve been through several processes now with Shorts. Their advice has been consistent, good quality and clear. Shorts are a guiding hand through the process and easy to deal with.

Matt Robinson - Managing Director, Juratek Limited

The Shorts team has a long history working with Matt Robinson, Managing Director at Juratek, as well as his colleagues Toby Whewell (Sales & Marketing Director) and Mark Clegg (Operations Director).

Our work with Juratek goes back to 2019 when our team advised Matt and his team about their Management Buy-out (MBO) of the company. Later, in April 2021, we advised Matt on the acquisition of Bettaparts Ltd.

Most recently, we were very pleased to advise and assist Matt on the successful trade sale of Juratek to Brazilian listed company Fras-Le, a deal which was completed in March 2023.

Andy Ryder and the Corporate Finance Team recently caught up with Matt again to discuss the deal process, his experience working with Shorts, and what advice he has for business owners hoping to make a similar deal.

How would you describe your journey working with Shorts?

I think “journey” is the right word. It started when we were presented with an opportunity to increase my initial shareholding [MBO]. At the time, I wanted to do that with Mark and Toby, and we were able to come up with an arrangement that allowed them to have 10% of the company each.

We worked with the Shorts team closely on that. Then, obviously, COVID came along, but even during the pandemic, there were a number of opportunities we pursued.

Shorts assisted us with Juratek’s acquisition of Bettaparts. A relatively modest deal, but one that’s proven very fruitful and has certainly proved its worth in terms of the enterprise value we’ve received.

There was also another deal that never came to fruition. I was glad we missed out on that one in the end because it would have presented difficulties with the price of containers later down the line.

About the Juratek acquisition by Fras-Le

When the initial contact with Fras-Le came, we discussed it with Shorts and we had a strategy to just go for the initial visit and to tease out of them what the likely value was going to be.

I thought it could be an interesting opportunity, but it had to be for the right valuation. I think the key to that was obviously the way the deal was structured and the things that weren’t counted towards debt. That is what made a real difference to the deal.

I’m delighted where the business has ended up both from myself and the guys personally, but more importantly, it’s a good place for the company to be in terms of the staff.

We can already see the benefits of being in a large group. They’re very people orientated and that is satisfying for me, Mark and Toby because it means that the security of the staff and their jobs is guaranteed pretty much, rather than it being a private equity deal.

How Shorts assisted with the transaction

There were some ideas that were ours, and some that were from Shorts. We were kind of bouncing ideas off each other. I remember there was the initial proposal that included a two-stage valuation, with significant value to be determined after the initial deal. We decided “that’s fine, but you lose your control. It might sound good, but it might not be good and from a risk perspective it doesn’t feel comfortable. So, we pushed for a single deal”

I think the decision to push back on the debt was a collective discussion, I didn’t feel either that I was being led by the nose or was being told what to do. It was very collegiate, working effectively as a team.

Which part of Shorts added the most value?

We have worked with Shorts on accounts, audit work, Corporate Finance, Tax, Private Client tax planning and financial planning. There are two relationships. There’s the existing ongoing relationship, which is payroll, monthly accounts, and personal and company tax. That was always there and had been there since the previous MBO. That ticks away in the background and is always good.

We’ve also had two audits now with Andy Irvine’s team, and they have been fine. No complaints whatsoever. And then, obviously, we’ve interspersed that with intensive periods of activity with your Corporate Finance team on a number of deals, including this one, Bettaparts, and the MBO.

Once I enjoy working with people, then I want to work with them. Because I think it’s important that when you are that deeply involved with people for some time and then also moving on to personal taxation, trust, wills, etc. you’ve got to have a rapport with people and you’ve got to trust them because if you don’t, there’s just something missing.

Short is a good-sized firm, but it’s not one of the big four. I think we would have been just a number there.

I’m personally happy with the level of high-level contact that we got. We also received support numerous times via WhatsApp from Andy Ryder, Adam Ames, Dave Robinson, or whoever was needed. I might not have got that level of immediate feedback from a big four firm.

How does the future look for Juratek under Fras-Le?

I think it’s exciting for the company. The market is changing. There’s always consolidation. With some of the challenges we’ve had in the last couple of years (in terms of the legal trademark challenge in China, and then in terms of the price of containers), those presented challenges on different levels, and we dealt with them as Juratek, as ourselves.

There were times throughout that process when it would have been good to have a big brother in the playground. But it’s already become clear that with Fras-Le, there are global departments for law, marketing, IP, etc. It also gives us a bigger portfolio of brands we can use; it gives us greater purchasing power, and it also gives security to the staff.

It’s also a good challenge for me, Mark and Toby because you can take a business to a certain level and it becomes easy, it becomes less stimulating. Already we can see that there are now new projects to be involved in.

How does it feel to have sold a business?

I’m delighted. I take a lot of satisfaction from joining the business in 2014, turning the business back around from when it was failing, growing it, turning another business around, and then finally doing a transaction. I think in time I’ll look back and think “that was a really good project to be involved in.”

But paying your mortgage off over the phone, in a new house as well. That was a great feeling.

 

Any advice for other business owners?

Take advice, listen to it, and challenge it. Be very clear in your own mind about what it is that you want. If you don’t want to sell your business, don’t start the process. If you do want to sell your business, commit to it. Do the prep, do the work, and do the numbers.

Would you recommend Shorts to friends or other businesses?

Absolutely. Because I’ve been through four processes now, three that were successful and one that wasn’t. The advice has been consistent. The advice is good quality and clear. A good guiding hand through the process. Shorts are easy to deal with. There’s some really good people as well. We enjoy working with the people at Shorts, and that’s a testament to the great culture you have in your company.

 

What words would you use to describe Shorts?

Shorts give clear, concise and straightforward advice, both positive and negative. Whether it’s “Don’t say that or do say this”. I’ve never felt like I was being buttered up by Shorts or being given compliments just to make me feel nice. If there are things that need to be said, then they need to be said. For everything else, it’s clear, concise, and straightforward. The way it should be.

About Juratek

Established in 1995, Juratek is a leading Aftermarket supplier of braking components to fit Passenger Cars, Light Commercial Vehicles, Trucks and Trailers. The company prides itself on the first-class quality of its Brakes Pads, Brake Discs, Brake Calipers and Brake drums which are developed as direct replacements to Original Equipment parts.