A husband and wife, who started a fat-fighting business in the depths of recession, have sold a stake in a deal valuing the company at £35 million.
Solihull couple Alan and Juliet Barratt have sold a majority stake in Grenade, which sells a variety of weight management products around the world, to investment firm Grovepoint Capital.
It represents a remarkable turnaround for the pair, who started the business in February 2009 – five months after the Lehman Brothers collapse turned the business world upside down.
The business sold 100 million weight loss capsules in grenade-shaped tubs around the world last year – including in Nepal, Iraq and Iran – and Mr Barratt told the Post he fielded calls from some of the world’s biggest firms interested in buying the business.
However, he said the pair chose an option that meant they could continue at the helm of the company.
“We are normal, hard-working people, but we’ve put everything into this,” he said. “We were being approached by trade buyers including some of the biggest companies in the world because we own a lot of brands, so there is a lot of potential.
“We could possibly have done a lot more but we wanted to stay involved, so it was the right deal.
“We want to build the company to the next stage, including a distribution centre in the US.”
Grenade sells to 100 countries across the world. Among its customers are the US military, special forces, Navy Seals, green berets, Walmart in Canada, Amazon in three countries, Holland & Barrett and Tesco in the UK.
However, the company only employs fewer than 10 people directly, with another 50 through subcontracting design and manufacturing elsewhere in the UK.
The company, based on the Coventry Business Park, is set to turn over £15 million in the UK this year.
However, much of its value is in its potential – it has six products, but has more than 50 trademarks.
Mr Barratt said part of the plans were to expand internationally. The pair are currently in talks over distribution centres in the US and India, with plans to roll out both in the next two years. He said 2014 stands to be a huge year for the firm.
He added: “There are several new products being launched in 2014 and we are also gearing up towards the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil with new products too. So we are busier than ever and that’s how we like it.”
Mr Barratt had experience in the world of nutrition, while his wife was Head of Education at RoSPA when they started the business.
Such has been their dedication to the firm, they had their first single day off in four years in December.
Mr Barratt said they have used some of the money raised to treat their families, but after the deal was done “we had a curry and a Creme Egg then got back to work”.
Mrs Barratt said they will not lose thier focus on the firm.
“We couldn’t do it,” she said. “It’s our life and the investors have bought into us as well as the business. Everyone expects us to say ‘that’s it, we are off on holiday for six months’ but we want to take the business to the next level.”
The pair were advised by Paul Farmer, of Armstrongs Accountants and Konrad Rutkowski, of Aspire Corporate Finance.