Newcastle dealmakers advise on UK clothing industry acquisition

Ryecroft Glenton helped Lowe Clothing in their acquisition of clothing retailer Ellis Rugby

Barry Gill and Carl Swansbury of Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance

Dealmakers at Newcastle accountancy firm Ryecroft Glenton Corporate Finance helped to secure a significant acquisition in the UK clothing market.

The firm’s Carl Swansbury and Barry Gill advised Worcestershire clothing designer and manufacturer, Lowe Clothing International Limited, on its acquisition of North Yorkshire leisure clothing retailer, Ellis Rugby.

The deal was struck through Lowe Clothing’s subsidiary, LCI Brands Limited, as part of an expansion on top of the firm’s five existing UK sites and three overseas offices in Chittagong, Dhaka and Qingdao.

Mr Swansbury and Mr Gill worked with the board of Lowe Clothing on a wider business plan through which the firm hopes to work closer with suppliers and trade partners in Bangladesh and China to ensure the quality and consistency of its garments.

Lowe Clothing’s acquisition trail started in April with specialist school wear wholesaler, Graham Winterbottom Limited. The firm is now said to be looking at other opportunities.

Lowe Clothing chairman Jonathan Lowe said: “Our business is experiencing substantial growth and we have decided that now is an opportune time to look at expansion because of the improving market.

“Ellis Rugby is a perfect fit for us. It is geographically close to our office in Otley and its founder, Kevin Ellis, is similar to us in aspiration as well as sharing a passion for product. The company designs and retails high quality rugby inspired fashion garments, such as leisure rugby shirts, T-shirts and polos, based around an exciting take on the heritage of the game.”

Kevin Ellis, founder of Ellis Rugby, added: “This is a great development for Ellis Rugby. As part of Lowe Clothing, we will benefit from the group’s infrastructure, economies of scale and contact with the supply chain we need to expand the business.”

Carl Swansbury, partner of RGCF said: “Lowe Clothing is an established designer and manufacturer of garments, primarily to the men’s and children’s wear markets and its future growth strategy will involve welcoming a number of similar branded businesses into the Lowe Clothing stable of brands, to enable Lowe Clothing to grow and diversify into new markets.

“The board is keen to acquire businesses operating within the clothing sector with specific emphasis on the ladies’ wear market, which once identified will involve the business looking to secure growth capital/investment.”

Lowe Clothing, which employs more than 75 people globally, predominantly designs and supplies men’s and children’s clothing to clients such as George, John Lewis, Next, Top Man, Sainsbury’s and the Arcadia Group.

The firm was set up in 2005 and has a £29m turnover.

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