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Clothing specialist Howfleet says thanks to Harvey Ingram for their sound
Jul '09
Howfleet, a business which supplies specialist cloth and clothing for industrial, military, police and emergency service use, has been bought by its management. The corporate finance team at Grant Thornton in Leicester advised on the deal, with legal advice from Harvey Ingram.

Based at Market Harborough in Leicestershire, Howfleet was established in the early 1990s to source cleanroom clothing from China. It has grown steadily, broadening out into a variety of advanced performance garments and cloths plus the design of clothing for a wide range of technologically-demanding markets. Its partner factories are now located in India and the Middle and Far East.

The fabrics and garments Howfleet works with have advanced material features which include being breathable, anti-microbial, anti-odour, moisture management and contamination prevention.

The management buy-out team includes financial director Annette Little and operations director Kevin Randle. The business employs 10 people in Harborough, with the products designed in the UK. The founder Doug Gill, who lives near Harborough, and his family sold the business to the management team as part of a natural process of succession.

Kevin Randle said the business was immediately looking to expand, with three new business development jobs to be created in the next few months. He added: "We are looking to grow further in the UK and slowly into Europe. We have a plan in place to expand the business into new product sectors, including fashion."

Kevin added: "We have never really gone out to aggressively promote the business, thanks to organic growth. Now we will look at how we can significantly grow in a strategic way, and we have a great business with great people and are bringing in the relevant expertise to enable us to do that."

Ivan Trevor, senior manager at Grant Thornton in Leicester, led the corporate finance advice, assisted by James Coultas. Ivan said: "We are pleased to have helped the new team at Howfleet, which is an excellent business with the ambition to grow and develop for an even more successful future."

Harvey Ingram partner and corporate finance specialist John Stobart provided legal advice. John said: "We were delighted to be able to work with this established client on a deal which develops their business. We were able to overcome some technical hurdles and despite the current economic situation it was completed relatively quickly. Howfleet is an extremely well run business in a sector with which we have strong connections. It is part of the specialist design and clothing sector and has enormous potential. We are looking forward to assisting it to grow."

Kevin Randle praised the advisers who worked on the MBO: "Our thanks go to Grant Thornton and to Harvey Ingram for their sound and practical advice which enabled us to complete an excellent deal for all parties."

Harvey Ingram LLP

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