South Yorkshire school clothing provider acquires premises with bank’s suport

Sheffield-based school clothing supplier School Trends has acquired the building it currently rents in a deal funded by HSBC’s South Yorkshire Commercial team.

The move gives the company, which is an employee-owned organisation, security and the flexibility to adapt the building to meet future growth requirements.

HSBC’s South Yorkshire Commercial team provided 75 per cent of the funding required to purchase the 48,500 sq ft building in Westfield, in a deal led by senior international commercial manager Julie Bowler.

The company also received funding support from Baxendale (formerly Baxi Partnership), the UK’s leading provider of support, funding and advice for employee owned organisations, Co-Operative and Community Finance, Finance Yorkshire and UK Steel Enterprise.

School Trends supplies 1.5 million decorated school garments to approximately 5,000 schools a year, generating revenues of £11 million.

It was founded in 1988 by Richard Jones and Peter Beeby and became employee owned in 2004. Today, it employs over 125 people who enjoy the benefits of employee ownership, including and dividends from the business.

School Trends finance drector Mark Newell said:

“The purchase brings many benefits to the business – it offers us security, it gives us flexibility to expand or adapt the property to our needs, it strengthens the balance sheet and will ultimately improve the cash position of the company. It provides us with a solid platform for our future growth and we are pleased to have received the support of HSBC and our other lenders on this project.”

Mick Knowles, HSBC’s South Yorkshire Area Commercial Director, said:

“School Trends is one of the leaders in its field and we have been impressed by the management’s leadership of the business and the fact that its staff are so dedicated to the firm through employee ownership.

“School Trends is typical of the type of company we are supporting in South Yorkshire and I’d urge businesses to come and speak to us about their funding requirements.”

Baxendale has a long standing relationship with School Trends.  This is the second round of funding Baxendale has provided to support the growth of the school uniform manufacturer.

Peter Matthews, Baxendale’s investment director, said:

“We were delighted to be able to provide School Trends the gap funding to help them buy back the building they sold in 2004 to fund their transition to employee ownership.

“School Trends’ fantastic growth story is testament to the resilience of employee owned organisations in the face of challenging economic conditions. What better way to celebrate Employee Ownership Day than to raise a toast to School Trends and all its co-owners.”

David Ward, Finance Yorkshire portfolio manager, said:

“Finance Yorkshire is pleased to continue to support School Trends.  The Fund has a long standing working relationship with the company and we have seen how successful the company has been over the last few years.  The purchase of the building will give School Trends an excellent foundation for further grow in the future.”

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