Rob buys second firm in six months

The boss of a Sheffield industrial supplies company has pulled off the 'crazy' purchase of his second company in just six months - but says he is 'absolutely' up for buying another.

Monday, 23rd October 2017, 4:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 12:00 pm
Rob Hand.

Rob Hand has bought Distinct Disposables in Huddersfield, adding eight staff and 880 customers to the Rubber Safety Hygiene Group.

The deal went through six months after he acquired another Huddersfield supplies company, Louis France, and its 200 customers.

Rob bought Sheffield-based RSH from his mum and father-in-law in 2013. The recent transactions take turnover from £3.6m in 2013 to £6.1m this year, set to hit £7m in 2018, and headcount to 39.

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Rob said it had been a whirlwind four years, but having gained the experience he was up for another acquisition.

He said: “If you had said 12 months ago I would buy two companies in the same year I’d say it would sound crazy. But if the right opportunity came along tomorrow I would take it.

“I’m up for buying another, absolutely. RSH would have continued to grow but the acquisition route is quicker and more exciting.”

The deals bring a string of benefits, he added.

New people had injected new energy. Distinct Disposables’ former joint managing director Paul Storer had bought a 10 per cent stake in the group and bolstered the management team, he also brought a fresh look at underachieving areas of the parent company, Rob said.

And in the six months that Rob’s stepson Matt Bradbury had been running Louis France turnover had leapt 20 per cent.

Meanwhile, the acquisitions meant rapid expansion. RSH was in a tough market seeing up to five per cent growth, Rob said.

He added: That’s not quick enough for me.”

RSH staff had also had the chance to develop, such as Emma Everit, who started on a YTS scheme aged 16 and was now finance and HR manager of a £6m turnover business.

Finally, the deals offered the chance to cross sell within the businesses, including supplying RSH workwear to Distinct Disposable customers.

Rob said he phoned Paul on the day the Louis France deal went through to tell him they were now competitors in Huddersfield That was when Paul informed him he and his family were looking to sell. The Louis France deal happened after its owner decided to retire.

All three companies were keeping their identities, Rob added.

“Everyone in Huddersfield know those brands.”