The West Midlands company which rolled out the carpet for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate is on firm new foundations – thanks to a £10 million investment.
Kidderminster-based Victoria Carpets became the first plc to receive investment from Business Growth Fund, helping steer the carpet maker to a more stable footing following a rollercoaster financial ride.
Victoria, founded in 1895, had undergone its biggest change in a generation in October 2013 when the entire board was replaced at an extraordinary meeting, forced by a consortium headed by Alexander Anton – the great-grandson of founder George Anton.
The firm was the subject of a protracted battle which split the Anton family, with cousin Rupert a strong voice against the consortium.
But last year Victoria reported pre-tax profits of £2.3 million, up from losses of £3.3 million for the same period in 2013.
The business had also been strengthened by a £16 million deal for Yorkshire rival Globesign, which owns the Westex brand, while BGF’s £10 million investment has further safeguarded its future.
BGF, which has a 40-strong Birmingham office including investors and support staff. Since the deal, Victoria, which supplied the Westminster Abbey carpets for the 2011 Royal Wedding, as well as Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle, has also acquired Abingdon Flooring in Bradford and Whitestone Weavers in Hartlepool.
Gavin Petken, Midlands regional director of the Business Growth Fund, said: “Victoria plc is a well-established family-run business, they took our £10 million and invested in the business. It is a really good example of how we can make businesses better. They were introduced by BDO, we have a very good relationship with local advisers, accountants, corporate law firms. We have started to invest in public companies as well with the Victoria deal.”
He said BGF had invested £90 million into the Midlands over a four-year period.
“There has been very rapid growth. We are, in effect, head office two after London. Birmingham is punching well above its weight,” he said.
“In the next four to six weeks, we will have another three completions of new deals. That will put another £12 million to £14 million into the portfolio in the Midlands.
“We are doing more and more business here every quarter. At the moment confidence is there and is getting better..
He added: “We do not compete with private equity, we are not a debt provider, we are not a government organisation and the banks do not control what we do day to day.”
BGF has capital of £2.5 billion and is backed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Standard Chartered.