Vail Williams advises on decorator company acquisition

Fast-expanding specialist paints distribution company, PaintWell Limited has acquired Kent Blaxill Group Limited (Kent Blaxill).
November 16, 2022
Vail Williams advised PaintWell Limited on the deal which extends its branch network across the East of England and the South East.

The new enlarged group will have 46 branches stretching from Cumbria to Kent, with 250 employees and combined revenues of £55m.

Established in 1838, Kent Blaxill is an independent family-owned decorating, glass and building products distribution company.

Headquartered in Colchester, Essex, it has 23 decorating and builders’ merchants across the East of England and the South East, employs 160 people and in 2021 achieved revenues of more than £30m.

Kent Blaxill’s management team, led by managing director James Park, will remain with the business, working with Stuart Slocombe and the PaintWell executive team to integrate the two businesses.

For PaintWell, this move extends its branch network beyond its traditional markets, building its national presence and creating opportunities for its e-commerce business and industrial paints offering.

It confirms PaintWell’s position as the UK’s fastest growing independent, omni-channel decorating merchant and aligns with its ambitious growth strategy, which has seen nine new additions to PaintWell’s branch network, investment in its e-commerce platform.

John Naylor-Leyland, who led Cairngorm Capital’s team on this investment, said: “As investors, we are actively engaged in the strategy and operational development of our portfolio companies.

Our collective goal, with Stuart and his team, is to develop PaintWell through a mix of organic growth, new branch development and selective acquisitions.

“Kent Blaxill is an excellent example of what we look for – a company with a strong, service-led culture, highly complementary branch network and product range that provide geographic expansion and a strong platform for further growth.”

Stuart Slocombe, PaintWell’s Managing Director said: “I am delighted to welcome James and all at Kent Blaxill to PaintWell. Our shared independent ethos, vision and commitment to customers make this an obvious partnership, and Kent Blaxill a welcome addition to our company.”

James Park, Managing Director of Kent Blaxill added, “This partnership is exciting and I am confident will deliver great things. I am looking forward to working with Stuart and his team to advance the strategy and future direction of the group.”

Peter Sudworth, Partner at Vail Williams, based at Crawley, said: “We have a long-standing professional relationship with Cairngorm Capital and have also been working hard to source suitable locations for PaintWell’s fast expanding portfolio of trade counter premises.

“I was glad to see the acquisition of Kent Blaxill by PaintWell successfully completed and the new group will certainly be making a big impact across the sector as it grows and extends its geographical reach.”

Cairngorm Capital and PaintWell were also advised on this transaction by BDO (financial and tax), Drystone Strategy (commercial), and Womble Bond Dickinson (legal). Arbuthnot Commercial ABL provided increased lending facilities to the enlarged group. Kent Blaxill’s shareholders were advised by Grant Thornton (financial and tax) and Birkett Long (legal).

Vail Williams also advised on PaintWell’s recent acquisition of specialist paints and surface coatings distributor, Promain, establishing a new industrial paints division.