MBO at manufacturer whose clients include London Underground, Pepsico, Siemens and Tata


A rubber parts manufacturer whose clients include London Underground, Pepsico, Siemens and Tata has been bought by members of its management team.

J-Flex was established in 1984 by John and Jill Kirk to make rubber-based products for sectors such as aerospace, rail and pharmaceutical. Since then the business, based in Retford, north Nottinghamshire, has built a client list covering more than 50 global markets.

The buyout has been led by managing director Sam Kirk – who is the Kirks’ son – and finance director Chris Barnes. It has seen the creation of a new parent company called Clockpress Holdings, which the new owners plan to use as an investment vehicle to acquire other owner-led SMEs and grow the business further. They also hope to create new jobs.

Sam Kirk said: “J-Flex has changed considerably over the last two to three years, and while exploring acquisition opportunities for J-Flex, John and Jill expressed an interest in possibly exiting the business.

“We are delighted to have reached a deal that allows them to achieve that, without impacting other acquisition plans and ensuring business continuity, as well as the opportunity to grow successfully.

“J-Flex has a really talented team of people capable of taking the business on to the next level, while retaining the legacy that the original owners had created.”

The deal marks the first of several anticipated acquisitions for Clockpress, with a second deal already completed to acquire the majority share capital in Composites Evolution – a materials manufacturer for the composites industry, based in Chesterfield.

Mr Kirk said both J-Flex and Composites Evolution already shared a “like-minded approach to business” and share several clients in the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Composites Evolution will continue to operate as a standalone subsidiary with its existing staff.

Its chief executive Gordon Bishop said: “We are delighted with the deal that has been struck with Clockpress Holdings.

“There is already great synergy in the products, markets and business approach of both J-Flex and Composites Evolution, so it makes sense that we can now join forces and combine our expertise in this way.

“We are seeing rapid growth in demand due to our market-leading prepregs and short lead times, and we are very much looking forward to working with Clockpress Holdings to meet that demand in the coming months and years.”

Mr Kirk said negotiations were underway for further manufacturing business acquisitions.

The deals were supported by Neil Roberts, Antony Voakes and Amy Weston of Wright Vigar Chartered Accountants and Azam Zia of Zia Harman Solicitors.

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Marta Lopez

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