£8m boost to maker of kitchens for the stars

Canburg, the owner of Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson Furniture, has secured an £8m investment from the Business Growth Fund in a deal valuing the business at around £50m.

TV presenter Lisa Snowdon in a Smallbone kitchen.

It will create around 40 jobs at the group’s showrooms and workshops in Wiltshire where all its products are hand-made by craftsmen. Smallbone, founded in 1976, and Mark Wilkinson, founded in 1981, have become the kitchens of choice of celebrities such as Dustin Hoffman, Sir Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, and Lisa Snowden and sportsmen such as John Terry and Sir Ian Botham, said a spokes- man.

They are also loved by chefs including Raymond Blanc, Gary Rhodes, Madhur Jaffrey and Michel Roux jr, the spokesman added.

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Canburg was established in 2009 by entrepreneur Leo Caplan to buy Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson.

He has committed more than £10m to the group since then, restructuring it and returning it to profitability.

It reported core earnings of £2.1m in the 12 months to June 30, 2013 and that is expected to have increased to over £3m in the year to June 2014 from sales of more than £30m.

Much of the growth has been driven by exports.

Since 2009, the group has won contracts to supply super-prime developments in New York City such as ONE57 the most expensive residential building in the Big Apple.

Mr Caplan said: “I first invested in these businesses because of my passion for the luxury furniture they both make.

“The fact that the furniture is hand made in the UK and supplied globally is a fantastic testament to our cabinet making heritage.

“I am confident that, over the next five years, we can grow the business from its current valuation of more than £50m – post investment – to a global luxury group worth in excess of £500m.”

The Business Growth Fund is the UK’s leading independent growth capital investor backed by five of the UK’s major banks.