Doncaster firm Victoria Plum sold to rival for £22.5m - months after £7.8m administration purchase

Doncaster-based online bathroom retailer Victoria Plum has been sold for £22.5m – just months after being bought out of administration for less than £8m.

The similarly-named Lancashire firm Victorian Plumbing has announced it is buying the entire share capital of the rival Doncaster company from AHK Designs.

AHK Designs spent £7.8m purchasing Victoria Plum in a pre-pack deal after the firm went into administration in late September.

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The deal saw all of the company’s 300 employees transfer to the new owner.

Victoria Plum is under new ownership once again after being sold to rival Victorian PlumbingVictoria Plum is under new ownership once again after being sold to rival Victorian Plumbing
Victoria Plum is under new ownership once again after being sold to rival Victorian Plumbing

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, new owner Victorian Plumbing said: “Given that Victoria Plum has recently been through an administration and there is already a cost reduction programme in progress, the company intends to continue to trade the business as normal initially, pending finalisation of our integration plan.”

A further update will be provided next week.

The latest acquisition has been funded from Victorian Plumbing’s cash reserves.

Mark Radcliffe, CEO of Victorian Plumbing, said: "I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Victoria Plum, a well-established brand with a solid base of customers, suppliers and product ranges.

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"The acquisition aligns with our ambitions to accelerate our growth. We are pleased to welcome the existing Victoria Plum team to our group and look forward to continuing to provide customers with a fantastic range of bathroom products and accessories.

"This acquisition represents another exciting strategic milestone for the company and, together with the investment in our new distribution centre, provides a unique opportunity to deliver increased shareholder return."

For the six months ended March 31 2024, unaudited management accounts indicate that Victoria Plum had book value gross assets of £15.8m and losses of £3.3m.

A statement from new owner Victorian Plumbing said: “The purchase price represents c.0.5x Victoria Plum's estimated annual revenue and reflects the significant strategic value to the company of the Victoria Plum brand and its associated intellectual property.

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"The company's expectation is that Victoria Plum will be broadly break even in the second half of 2024.”

In April, a progress report on the administration process for Victoria Plum stated that non-preferential creditors collectively owed £19.2m from trade and deals preceding the AHK Designs takeover were unlikely to get any return.

It also said there is a likely to be “shortfall” in paying around £3.2m owed to HM Revenue and Customs.

The company was previously owned by private equity firm Endless.

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Administrators said the company had faced “challenging market conditions” prior to entering administration, caused by a combination of reducing demand and inflationary pressures. It said a subsequent “system error” affected its marketing strategy and hit revenues.

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