£200m paint sale crowns success of buyout

CROWN Paints, the manufacturer bought by Yorkshire private equity house Endless two years ago, could be sold in a deal worth £200m.

The UK and Ireland's largest independent producer of decorative coatings has seen profits nearly double since 2008. Yesterday Endless said it had appointed Deloitte in Manchester to lead a strategic review. The Yorkshire Post understands Crown Paints is on the market at 200m.

More than 1,400 people work for the paints firm, which is based in Darwen in Lancashire. It has manufacturing sites in Darwen and Hull and distribution centres in Darwen, Warrington and Dublin.

The Crown Paints deal, in which Endless backed a buyout of the company from Akzo Nobel, has proved a major success. The 200-year old firm, known for its football club sponsorship in the 1980s, is on course to file accounts that will show an EBITDAR (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and rentals) of 20m on sales of 180m in the year to December 31.

Strong cost controls have helped the firm generate substantial improvements in operational efficiencies and it has grown UK market share on the back of new product launches.

A spokesperson for Endless said yesterday: "Crown Paints has made outstanding financial and operational progress since our investment in October 2008.

"The business has doubled profits in its last financial year and is outperforming the wider UK coatings market.

"Consistent with our investment strategy, we are continuously exploring strategic options for Crown."

Endless was founded in 2005 and is run by Darren Forshaw, the managing partner, and Garry Wilson, the chairman. The turnaround specialist is based in Leeds and has offices in Manchester, Birmingham and London, where it established a base in Mayfair earlier this year.

It is responsible for investments in firms with a combined turnover of more than 1bn and with more than 6,500 employees.

Last year it helped save 1,500 jobs when it took a majority stake in Vasanta Group, based in Sheffield and one of Britain's biggest office supplies firms, working with 4,000 independent office suppliers