Spear and Jackson subject of $25m buyout

AN historic Yorkshire industrial group has been acquired in a major management buyout which also includes a contract manufacturing company with offices in Hong Kong and China.


The 250-year-old Sheffield-based Spear and Jackson, together with Pantene Industrial Ltd, have been bought from their Hong Kong-listed parent, United Pacific Industries, in a deal led by Yorkshire advisers.

The Spear & Jackson Group employs 460 people globally and is based at Atlas Way in Sheffield.

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It manufactures and distributes hand and garden tools, metrology equipment, woodworking tools and magnetic equipment under several brand names, including Spear & Jackson, Bowers, Robert Sorby, Moore and Wright, Eclipse, WHS and Tyzack. With divisions across England, France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Spear & Jackson distributes products throughout the world.

HSBC’s Yorkshire Corporate Centre provided a US$25m finance package to support the MBO via a global funding structure that includes the UK, France, Australia and Hong Kong. The deal was managed on behalf of the bank by senior corporate banking manager Neil Abbott and Ian Flaxman of HSBC Invoice Finance.

The MBO team was headed by Simon Hsu, and the deal was principally advised by the Yorkshire professional services community, with HSBC being advised by Robert Ross from PwC and Anna Robson from DLA Piper.

The MBO team was advised by Ian Warman from KPMG in Leeds, Dean Gormley, head of the banking and finance team in the North at Irwin Mitchell, and Nigel Bolton, partner in the firm’s Leeds office.

Pantene Industrial Ltd has 950 employees, is located in Shenzhen, China, and provides original equipment manufacturer and electronic manufacturing services to a range of international clients.

Its core product range is diverse and includes industrial-grade chargers, electronic components and products such as LED and industrial work lights, coils, solenoids and printed circuit board assembly services.

Mr Hsu said: “The MBO is a hugely exciting opportunity to move Spear & Jackson and Pantene to the next level through both organic growth and acquisition.

“The deal was complex, being multi-currency and multi-jurisdiction and having the additional complication of the regulatory aspects of a UK-based defined benefit pension plan that had to be addressed in completing the transaction.

“We were ably supported by Irwin Mitchell as banking and pension legal advisers, in conjunction with KPMG, and by HSBC, which provided acquisition finance and also working capital facilities that will underpin the group’s next phase of development.

“International reach and expertise were prerequisites from our advisers and funders and Irwin Mitchell, KPMG and HSBC were chosen as having the necessary presence and skills to be able to satisfy both criteria.”