Creating the perfect formula

SWS is a longstanding Yorkshire business and is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of packaged virgin and recovered solvents to the automotive refinishing market, both in the UK and overseas. It was founded in the early 1980s and under the ownership of Keith Wilson, has a long and successful track record in providing customers with a complete solution from solvent sales through to blending and waste collection. Following a period of sustained recent growth, annual turnover is c.£9m and the business employs 35 staff.

Tradebe is the UK market leader in hazardous waste management services. It also holds a leading position in Spain and the US, and has subsidiaries in France and Brazil. Tradebe operates more than 72 treatment and recycling facilities across the markets where it is present. In 2013 total revenues were c.€400m and it employed in excess of 2,000 people worldwide.

BHP Corporate Finance partner David Forrest, supported by John Longstaff, David Bellamy and Mark Cooper, acted as lead advisor to the vendors and managed a tightly focused auction process.

Keith Wilson, Chairman of SWS, commented “SWS’ success has been built on a value added product offering and outstanding customer service overseen by an excellent and committed management team led by managing director, Brendan Pope. I believe we have found the perfect home for the business to continue its progress as part of the Tradebe group. I must say a big ‘thank you’ to David Forrest and the team at BHP Corporate Finance who worked tirelessly to ensure the deal progressed smoothly and happened on time. During an often complicated and time consuming process they definitely ‘went the extra-mile’ and I could not recommend them more highly”.

David Forrest, partner at BHP Corporate Finance, commented, “we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Keith and the management team to find the right strategic partner for the business. As we expected for a high quality business like SWS, we had a significant amount of interest. We are pleased to have agreed a deal with Tradebe who emerged as the outstanding strategic partner.  The two businesses fit together perfectly and I have no doubt that under its new ownership, SWS will continue to go from strength to strength. This deal is further evidence of how Yorkshire’s niche businesses are capitalising on the growing opportunities afforded by international acquirors looking to secure quality UK assets”.



£9m turnover generated annually

John Longstaff went on to say “SWS became a client of the firm three years ago with a view to us developing a deep understanding of the business and working towards an exit for the shareholders within a five year time horizon. Earlier this year, two years ahead of the original schedule, we launched a discreet, targeted disposal process which has delivered a highly satisfying result for the shareholders. It is very pleasing to have concluded this transaction in short order and I wish Keith the very best in his retirement”.

The sale of SWS comes at the end of a busy third quarter of 2014 for BHP Corporate Finance which saw the team complete eight transactions. With continued healthy deal-flow, we look forward to announcing more completions before the Christmas break.

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