Tech-focused investment bank, ICON Corporate Finance, has advised Swindon-headquartered Retrac Group – one of the UK’s advanced manufacturing specialists in the Formula 1, Formula E, aerospace and defence sectors – enabling its employees to acquire the business in an eight-figure deal.
ICON acted as lead adviser to Retrac, enabling the staff to acquire the business through an Employees Ownership Trust. Under the deal, five decades of ownership by the Carter family, has been transferred to the 115-strong workforce, who will be the beneficiaries of the company’s future success.
In a dual announcement, experienced automotive and motorsport executive Dan Walmsley has been appointed as CEO. Walmsley joins the company having played a key role in the Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium, where he co-ordinated multi-site production activities for Airbus, Ford, Siemens, McLaren, Penlon and GKN Automotive as part of the Cabinet Office response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Prior to this, Dan spent four years as McLaren’s motorsport director and four years as team principle at FIA World Sportscar Championship team, Strakka Racing.
In his new role, Walmsley will lead the Group’s two divisions, Retrac Productions Ltd and Retrac Composites Ltd. Long-standing co-owner and Retrac Productions managing director, Andy Carter, steps into the role of Chairman of Retrac Group.
Carter says: “We firmly believe that the EOT mechanism is the correct succession plan for the business. Since my father founded Retrac in 1972, the most important aspect of the business is the employees. The average service record of more than a decade stands as testament to the loyalty and commitment of the Retrac workforce.
“The benefits that EOT employee ownership can bring to businesses are widely acknowledged – including improved employee engagement and wellbeing, and better business performance. We want our employees to have the chance to share in future success.
“Thanks to ICON’s advice, expertise and support throughout, we are able to take the business to the next phase, increasing growth and enhancing the security and prospects of all our employees.”
Dan Walmsley, CEO at Retrac Group, adds: “Retrac Group has been a key supplier to more than half of the Formula 1TM World Champions over the past 25 years. The business has diversified its blue-chip client portfolio across multiple sectors, providing engineering solutions in advanced materials, tooling and component manufacture.
“Under the EOT, we aim to build on this legacy, targeting revenue growth of 50% by 2023 and creating a bright future, bringing tomorrow’s technologies to reality for our clients today through the use of innovative, lightweight materials and rapid manufacturing.
James Kenward, Director at ICON Corporate Finance, says: “We are delighted to have led, and supported the shareholders on this transaction. The Retrac team have created an award-winning innovative composites and engineering group that fulfils mission-critical supply to the largest global manufactures in F1, motorsport, aerospace and defence. It has been a pleasure to work with the team and we look forward to their continued success under new ownership.”