COUNTERLINE, based in Knowsley, was established in 1983 and manufactures heated and chilled food display units, industrial kitchens and self-service food counters.
In 2005 it was sold to an external management team and shortly after the new owners were approached by a French company interested in buying the business.
However, the second tier management team had already discussed an MBO further down the line and wanted to keep the company in their own hands rather than it being sold to an unknown trade buyer.
They decided to bring forward their plans and in 2006 they led an MBO. At the time of the transaction Counterline employed 60 staff and had a turnover of £4.25m.
The incoming management team, made up of Mark Campey, Simon Dutton, Trevor Douce, Timothy Flood and Andrew Perry, raised a finance package including a loan from MSIF, directors’ own investment, invoice discounting and support from the bank to fund the transaction.
Counterline has been hugely successful since the MBO and now employs 148 staff and turnover has grown to almost £10m.
Clients include Shell, Debenhams, Orange, O2, BHS and Londis.
Finance director Simon Dutton said: “Knowing the business as well as we did was certainly an advantage and we were always confident that we would be able to oversee the smooth succession of the company.”