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Case studies

Formaplex

Sectors: Industrial & Energy

Deal Type: MBO, Current

Transaction Value: £19 million

www.formaplex.com

Dunedin contact:
Nicol Fraser

 
Formaplex

Overview

Formaplex is a unique and market leading provider of tooling and lightweight component solutions to a range of attractive high-growth end markets.

Management’s strategy of developing an integrated offering supported by investment in people and equipment in the UK and Far East has created a business model with a capability and scale of manufacturing capacity, which makes it one of the largest players in Europe.

Dunedin invested in Formaplex in December 2007. The energy and ambition of the Formaplex management team was obvious from the start and there was a clear meeting of cultures between the Formaplex and Dunedin teams.

The Opportunity

Dunedin was attracted by a strong management team, a differentiated operating process and the high growth potential of a market leading business.

We could see there was a real opportunity to support management in professionalising the business structures and processes to make it scalable, enabling growth in existing and new sectors and geographies.

Formaplex benefits from a global demand for travel coupled by the regulatory requirements for reduced emissions and improved fuel efficiency.  These drivers continue to increase the demand for tooling and lightweight components that it supplies to vehicle and aircraft manufacturers.
 

Value Creation

We have worked closely with Formaplex to provide strategic and financial support. This has included strengthening the senior level team; providing financial support to fund manufacturing capacity growth through investment in new machinery and working capital; and a strategic review which provided the support and tools to the talented executive team to allow them to continue to grow the business and diversify into new services and markets.

Production facilities increased from 20,000 square feet at the time of investment to 270,000 square feet today, employee numbers have increased from 42 to 385 and turnover has risen from £6m to £58m during the investment period.

Business Description

Based in Havant, near Portsmouth, Formaplex is a highly responsive, agile engineering company focused on the design and manufacture of injection-mould tooling, composite tooling and lightweight components from engineered plastics and composite materials.

From its roots as an F1 supplier it has developed a leading position in the growing UK premium automotive sectors, with a rapidly expanding share of the UK and European high-volume automotive, defence, aerospace and industrial markets. It operates from four state of the art UK manufacturing facilities with a strong network of European and Asian supply partners. The business has an enviable, blue chip customer base, with which it has developed long-standing, trusted relationships.

Formaplex’s competitive advantage lies in its unique, vertically integrated business model. Services include component design support and advice through to tooling manufacture, and supply of finished plastic and composite components. These integrated activities, combined with the scale of its engineering and manufacturing resource, provide Formaplex with a flexibility and speed of production that set industry standards in lead times and quality. It also acts as a significant barrier to entry, given the scale of investment competitors would need to make to replicate the breadth of Formaplex’s capabilities.

Strategy

Formaplex’s strategy is to exploit the substantial market opportunities in its core markets with existing and new customers, whilst also seeking to extend its geographical market position and service offering.

Formaplex has successfully challenged traditional methods used in the tool making industry to create a differentiated and highly profitable offering in a marketplace characterised by low margins and long lead times.  The growth in Formaplex is driven by its ability to provide a professional, innovative and outstanding service to its broad customer base who increasingly need lightweight components.
 

 

Your Expertise 2

What people say about us

"Besides the excellent chemistry between management and investor, they got the exact right balance of supporting the team and conscientious monitoring of the investment and always done with good humour."

Duncan Murray

Managing Director, Celtic Inns

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