Panoramic invests in bathroom retailer

Panoramic Growth Equity (“Panoramic”), the leading equity investor in fast growing, entrepreneurial companies, today announced that it has supported the management buy-out (MBO) of bathroom products e-commerce retailer Online Home Retail. This marks the seventh investment for Panoramic’s second fund.

Based in Evesham, Online Home Retail, trading as offers quality bathroom products at affordable prices to the trade and public. Panoramic backed a team led by the original founder of the business, James Hickman, to buy back the company from listed builders’ merchant Grafton Group plc. Since establishing in 1999, Plumbworld has served over 1.5m customers and last year generated over £26m in annual revenue according to its latest published financial statements.

David Wilson, partner at Panoramic, commented: “We are delighted to support James and his colleagues in the acquisition of Plumbworld. We were excited by the prospect of backing a well-established e-commerce business which provides great customer service and develops and applies the very latest digital technology. The MBO team have all the skills and experience to take the business forward in leaps and bounds. Retailing is clearly increasingly moving online, and Plumbworld are at the forefront of that shift”.

James Hickman, Managing Director, feels this is the right time for the MBO and being independent will allow the business to take advantage of new opportunities in the online bathroom marketplace:
“The E-commerce consumer market is very fast moving and intensely competitive. It requires quick decision making, calculated risk taking and a ruthless focus on eliminating avoidable costs. We believe being independent will offer us greater agility and enable us to focus 100% of our efforts on delivering growth and improving profitability”

Panoramic’s investment was led by Partner David Wilson, supported by Senior Investment Manager David Atkinson. Jeremy Cole and David Middleton of Cole Associates Corporate Finance provided corporate finance advice to the MBO team. Panoramic received legal advice from Keith Dinsmore and his team at lawyers Vialex. James Cowper, Chartered Accountants provided Financial Due Diligence. The management team received legal advice from Richard Norton of Charles Russell Speechlys. Arbuthnot Latham provided debt facilities, their team was led by Andrew Rutherford and received legal advice from Jon Bew at Irwin Mitchell.