Smith Cooper

Architects get expert advice

Bondholder Smith Cooper's Corporate Finance (SCCF) team was appointed to support award-winning national architects Corstorphine + Wright with implementing its growth strategy.

Having grown rapidly in the last few years through a combination of organic and acquisitive growth, Corstorphine + Wright is now ranked as the 41st largest practice in the UK with ambitions to grow further. SCCF advised the company, and its shareholders, on how to prepare for investment and construct a shareholder realignment that would create the platform for future growth and consolidation of the UK’s architectural market.

The team ensured Corstorphine + Wright were in an optimal position for investment and then marketed the business to its private database of preferred PE investors.

Following a competitive auction process, funding was secured from Beechbrook Capital, a specialist fund that can provide a blend of debt and equity investment to high profile businesses.

Darren Hodson, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper commented “I have worked with Corstorphine + Wright over a number of years and the management team has driven the business forward through technical enhancements and strategically positioning itself in most UK sectors. This has resulted in significant market share gains."

Paul Turner, Director of Corstorphine + Wright commented further “Smith Cooper Corporate Finance provided us with exceptional professional service. I was particularly impressed with the attention to detail and the 24/7 access to the team we required. Their proactive advice surrounding the complexities of our deal was second-to-none. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this deal without their help and we would recommend them to other entrepreneurs.”


Smith Cooper expands to East

Bondholder Smith Cooper announces its expansion into the East of England through a new key appointment.

Ross Welham has 15 years of experience within the Business Recovery and Insolvency industry across East Anglia and London, and will continue to grow his already excellent reputation to businesses and individuals across Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk.

Ross will be operating from the prominent CB1 location in Cambridge and will play a pivotal role in Smith Cooper’s expansion in the region. In having this office, Smith Cooper will service individuals and companies operating in the local and surrounding areas.

Although Smith Cooper has offices throughout the Midlands, this is the first time the firm has established a foothold in the East of England and signals new opportunities for the progressive firm.

Dean Nelson, Head of Business Recovery and Insolvency at Smith Cooper comments “We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ross. He has a wealth of experience in the local marketplace, and extensive knowledge of the industry, meaning he is ideally positioned to deliver high quality professional advice.”

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In the sports day spirit

Twenty teams from businesses across the city will take part in the third annual Derby Business Games this Thursday.

The popular event is organised by Derby-based Choose Sports and the headline sponsors are Bondholder Timms Solicitors with additional support from the fellow Bondholders the University of Derby, BEAR and DNS.

Teams of eight will compete in a wide range of competitions based on the traditional schools sports day from rounders and netball to sack and wheelbarrow races. The afternoon finishes with relays and a tug of war finale before trophies and medals are presented.

Timms Managing Partner Fiona Moffat said: “The two previous Derby Business Games have been hugely successful afternoons and we are delighted with the great response from companies who want to take part this year."

“Everybody enters into the friendly but competitive spirit it is always great to see so many people recapture their youth and hark back to their school sports day.”

Jo Jackson from Choose Sports added: “We are very grateful to the University of Derby for providing the wonderful facilities for Derby Business Games and to our headline sponsors Timms who have been so instrumental to the growing success of this annual event.”

In last summer’s event, Bondholders reigned supreme: FHP Consulting retained the rounders trophy as well as winning the three-legged and wheelbarrow races, Smith Cooper won the netball, HUUB won the sack race, the egg and spoon title was clinched by DNS and Cain Henry from HUUB won the welly wanging competition. Who will scoop the prizes this year?!


Business Recovery and Insolvency team scoop award

Insolvency Team of the Year (Regional).jpg

Bondholder Smith Cooper’s Business Recovery and Insolvency (BRIS) team were last night named Insolvency Team of the Year (Regional) at the highly regarded TRI awards.

The Turnaround, Restructuring & Insolvency Awards, now in their 11th year, champion diversity and the outstanding achievements of firms and individuals operating within the challenging Insolvency industry.

The BRIS team at accountancy and advisory firm Smith Cooper comprises 14 individuals, including 4 licensed IP’s, 3 managers and 7 trainees, each at varying levels of qualification.

Dean Nelson, Partner and head of Business Recovery and Insolvency at Smith Cooper comments “I am immensely proud of our team here at Smith Cooper, and I am delighted that we have been awarded such a prestigious accolade.”

“Since establishing the division in 2009, we have gained more recognition year on year, and this award confirms our reputation as the Midlands leading team of Insolvency specialists. I am so proud of the team, and we will continue to support, train and develop them to continue the growth and success we are currently achieving.”

Trilogy of success for Smith Cooper

Bondholder Smith Cooper is celebrating after its multi award-winning Corporate Finance division of accountancy and business advisory firm was named SME Advisory Team of the Year 2018 at the Midlands Insider Dealmaker Awards for the third time in as many years.

The team, which has completed several notable landmark deals in the last 12 months, beat off six contenders to walk away with the award after securing the same award in the East Midlands just 4 months ago.

This is the first time the team has won the coveted award in both the East Midlands and West Midlands during the same year, and the third time it has been named SME Advisory Team of the Year since 2016.

John Farnsworth, Head of Corporate Finance at Smith Cooper commented: “We are delighted that our work and advisory services have been recognised on such a prestigious stage. The Insider awards champion outstanding achievements by professional M&A advisors across the region, so to win SME Advisory Team of the Year in both the East and West Midlands in the same year is a testament to the strength of our team.”

The awards follow Smith Cooper Corporate Finance’s most successful year yet, with a record breaking 35 deals completed in 2017 - a hike from the previous year’s total of 28. This has propelled the team into new territory, placing it amongst multinational advisors in the top 10 rankings of the Experian Midlands deal leagues.

Smith Cooper Chairman retires

Bondholder Smith Cooper Group Chairman is retiring after more than three decades with the firm.  

Midlands based accountants and business advisors Smith Cooper have announced their group chairman, Andy Delve, is to step down from his role at the end of June. 

Andy has dedicated 33 years to the firm, including almost 20 years as Managing Partner, and has undoubtedly moulded Smith Cooper into the organisation that it is today. 

Andy commented: “I have enjoyed the past 33 years working to create a business that is synonymous with trust and integrity, and reputable in the local and national market place. I am leaving the Smith Cooper in the very capable hands of the Partner group, led by James Bagley as the Managing Partner. 

“I am confident James’ leadership, the Partners and all of the staff will continue to bring Smith Cooper much success in the future.”

James added: “On behalf of the entire firm, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Andy for his years of service and dedication to Smith Cooper, his outstanding leadership during his 20 years as Managing Partner, and the continued support and guidance he has provided as Group Chairman. Andy expertly guided Smith Cooper from a more compliance focused accountancy practice, to a multi-office, business advisory firm with four award-winning group companies. 

"Without question, Andy’s entrepreneurial vision and strong, courageous leadership created much of the Smith Cooper we know and value today, and we wish him all the best in his retirement.”  

In anticipation of Andy’s retirement, David Nelson has been appointed to the role of Senior Partner and in doing so will continue to work alongside James Bagley in the ongoing development and implementation of the firm’s strategic vision.

Top 10 for Smith Cooper

Bondholder Smith Cooper Corporate Finance has secured 9th position in an Experian league table, having completed 17 local deals.

2017 was a buoyant year for M&A activity across the UK, and the third busiest year on record according to official figures published in Experian’s 2017 M&A Review.

Smith Cooper Corporate Finance experienced an equally successful year, completing 17 local deals to secure a top 10 Midlands ranking; as well as a further 15 deals outside of the Midlands, bringing the total of completed deals to 32. Far exceeding any previous records.

The Midlands was placed 5 th in the UK and Ireland in terms of deal volumes in 2017, which were down by 8% from 2016, whilst the value of deals completed in the region increased by over 20%, boosted by the completion of three mega deals worth a hefty £6.9bn.

This success follows the appointment of two new Corporate Finance Professionals; Alex Thompson joins as a Senior Executive, whilst James Ward joins as a Senior Manager. Both will primarily be based at the Nottingham office, but will operate across the wider Midlands, and assist clients throughout the UK.

Both Alex and James will be acting for business owners and management teams to support and deliver all types of corporate transactions including acquisitions, disposals, management buy-outs/buy- ins and fundraising.

Dan Bowtell, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper commented “We are really delighted to welcome both Alex and James to the team. Both have established industry acumen, and I am confident they will help our team continue to prosper.”




Smith Cooper Double Deal

Two distinguished Midlands based businesses have been sold in deals advised by accountancy and business advisory firm, Bondholder, Smith Cooper.

Premier Electrical Services Limited, a multidiscipline mechanical contractor, was sold in a Management Buy Out to James and Marie Brader, whilst Premier Facilities Maintenance Limited, a facilities maintenance service provider, was sold to third shareholder, Mike Wagstaff. Both companies are located in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

Established in 2001, Premier Electrical Services Ltd started life as a mechanical contractor in the small Nottinghamshire village of East Leake. Now a specialist M&E contractor, they offer a host of electrical and mechanical services throughout the UK.

Premier Facilities Maintenance Limited offer a full facilities support service including a range of reactive, planned and compliance maintenance services.

The exiting shareholders are Martyn Kelk and Martyn Oliver. Of the transaction, Martyn Oliver comments “We are proud to pass the baton on, and firmly believe this is the right move to enhance the companies’ current offerings and underpin both growth plans, whilst ensuring our customers continue to receive the same high-quality services that they have become akin to.”
He continues “David Nelson of Smith Cooper played a pivotal role in the outcome of the transaction, and his guidance and management throughout the process helped ensure a smooth deal for all parties.”

David Nelson, Partner at Smith Cooper was appointed to operate a facilitation role for both transactions, as instructed by all parties.

Funding for the transaction was provided by Ben Pittam of ABN Amro.

Legal advice for purchasers was provided by Louise Taylor of Austin Moore & Partners in Nottingham, whilst legal advice for the vendors were provided by Martin Hall of Cleggs Solicitors.

Sage Recognition for Smith Cooper

Bondholder Smith Cooper System Partners has been recognised by Sage as the Midlands Region, Business Partner of the Year.

The awards confirms Smith Cooper’s status as the most active and progressive Sage 200 provider in the Midlands region and the UK Channel at large.

Chris Smith, Commercial Director, said “After 2 years of phenomenal growth, this Sage trading year, we made a conscious decision that awards etc were not our priority, due to an acknowledged need to consolidate and reorganise for the next phase of our growth. However, after doing that for a few months, we hit on the idea of opening our London office and subsequently were lucky enough to secure two of the best Sage 200 Sales guys in the UK in Sam Pidgeon and Richard Torr. With our new structure in place, our business has gone from strength to strength.

"The Midlands region remains a stronghold for Sage and one of the most competitive in the UK, full of excellent, experienced partners. For us to win this award once would have been a great achievement. For us to win it three years in succession is a solid pattern of us always trying to be the best we can be, always staying one step ahead and our commitment to customer service. I am so proud of our fantastic team and look forward to the next stages of our development in the coming months.”

Success for Smith Cooper

Bondholder Smith Cooper has climbed 7 places in the Accountancy Age Top 50 + 50 2017 ranking, surging into the top 50 following a successful year. 

The Top 50+50 Accountancy Age 2017 ranking lists the UK’s top 100 accountants based on their total domestic fee income. Smith Cooper currently ranks 47th  in the UK across all Accountancy practices, a significant improvement on 2016’s position of 54th.

The firm also recently reported 16 new recruits including 11 graduates, 4 seniors and one new Partner as to further bolster their Midlands offering.

James Bagley, Managing Partner of Smith Cooper, said: “The Accountancy Age ranking comes during a period of success and expansion for the firm. 

“Over the past two years, the firm has celebrated 21% growth in 2015-16 and a further 19% growth 2016-17 respectively, award wins including SME Advisory Team of the Year, ICAEW’s Medium Accountancy firm of the Year and a number of specialist service line specific accolades.” 


Working with Autism

Bondholder Rolls-Royce has worked alongside Autism East Midlands to host a Working With Autism networking event at the Learning and Development Centre. 

The networking event allowed invited guests including local policy makers, business leaders and key individuals including Cllr John Whitby (The Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of Derby) Annie Hall (High Sherriff of Derbyshire) Heather Wheeler MP (Member of Parliament South Derbyshire) Cllr Nicola Roulstone (Representing Pauline Latham MP).

The event also included representatives from Bondholders BombardierDerby College, GeldardsLoatesHR, Pattonair, and Smith Cooper.

The event focused on the overarching point “What can we do but more importantly what can we do differently?” when supporting autism in the workplace. 

Jane Howson, Autism East Midlands Chief Executive, said: "The employment rate for people with autism has not changed in the last decade and remains extremely low, with only 16% of autistic adults in full-time work.

"However, we know that with the right support and simple, low-cost adjustments to their environments many more autistic people could thrive in the workplace.  

"This event will show, through our partners’ experience, how we can help local businesses to embrace a more diverse workforce, celebrate their employees’ individuality and reap the rewards of doing so."

New Consultant for Smith Cooper

Geoff Cousins, former Managing Director of Jaguar UK, has joined Bondholder Smith Cooper as a specialist advisory consultant.

Following a phenomenally successful career at Jaguar Land Rover spanning 25 years, Geoff now acts as a visiting professor at the University of South Wales, a Non-Executive Director of Performance Communications as well as Managing Director of his own Business Consultancy. As a business consultant, he supports SME’s to achieve substantial growth ambitions.

Darren Hodson, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper comments: “We are thrilled to welcome Geoff on board. As a firm, we continue to see an increase in automotive transactions, and our clients continue to value our compelling offering of dedicated, experienced professionals and sector specialisms. It seemed only natural to support this industry expansion by inviting Geoff onboard.”

He continues “Last week it was announced that Smith Cooper have ascended up Experian’s M&A activity league tables, and we have now entered the top 10 in the Midlands, the North East and Northern Ireland. To ensure we have an unrivalled offering, are dedicated to pursuing the most proficient experts and advisors to our rapidly growing team.”

Geoff will play a pivotal role in assisting Automotive transactions. 

Smith Cooper Targets London

Bondholder Smith Cooper is set to open a new office in the centre of London, which will be based on Embankment, Vauxhall overlooking the River Thames.

The business has worked alongside Sage to select the location and three members of staff will join the branch in the coming weeks.

Chris Smith, Commercial Director at Smith Cooper, said: “At Smith Cooper, we believe in constant progress and evolution based on the simple theory that if you stand still you start to go backwards. As one of the most forward thinking Sage partners in the UK, we are constantly looking at ways to grow our business and a London office is a truly fantastic development for us.

"We have worked very closely with Sage UK in researching and establishing this new location so we are fully aware of the potential opportunity it represents to us both in the Greater London area and the South of England at large – with the advent of Sage Live, the opportunity is potentially even larger than we had initially planned.

"I am really excited to execute our proven model in London and look forward to seeing this region develop over the coming months and years.”

Bondholders' International Advisory

Bondholders Flint Bishop and Smith Cooper have acted together on the sale of Belper-based Arbo, to Carlisle Companies Incorporated, a company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Julian Miller, Finance Director at Arbo, said “We were keen to find the right succession plan for the Arbo business and Carlisle presented us with a great opportunity. We are excited to become part of their Group, which undoubtedly brings new opportunities for Arbo. We were delighted with the advice and support we received from the teams at Flint Bishop and Smith Cooper.”

Flint Bishop Corporate Partner, Rachel Bennett led the legal advice and commented, “This is an excellent deal for all parties.

"The shareholders have done a fantastic job progressing the business since their acquisition nearly 10 years ago and this deal gives them an excellent platform to develop the business further as part of a global group.”

Janet Morgan, Audit Partner at Smith Cooper added, “We are delighted for the team on the completion of this deal. We have worked with Adshead Ratcliffe (Arbo) since 2007, when we advised on the successful management buyout of the company.

"We have continued to work with the business over the years as both auditors and advisors. We wish the team well in their future ventures.”

Smith Cooper win top Sage Award

Bondholder Smith Cooper has been recognised by Sage as the Sage’s Midlands Region, Business Partner of the Year.

The award was presented to Directors Richard Brewster and Chris Smith at Sage’s annual awards ceremony, and confirms Smith Cooper’s status as the most active Sage 200 provider in the Midlands region.

Chris Smith, Director, said: “I was genuinely surprised when we won this award last year and really thought it would be tough to repeat the achievement again in 2016.

"The Midlands Region has traditionally been Sage’s strongest, full of excellent, experienced partners with much larger sales teams than ours. It’s also true that some of these companies came back very strongly after our win last year. However, I firmly believe that, once again, our agility, commitment to customer service and being “good guys to deal with” has again set us apart from our competitors. Well done to all our team, I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Two new managing partner appointments

Richard McNeilly

Richard McNeilly

Bondholders Dains and Smith Cooper - both specialists in accountancy and professional services - have appointed new managing partners recently.

Former head of business development at Bondholder Dains, Richard McNeilly, will replace Spencer Wright as managing partner after more than a decade in post.

Spencer commented: "I'd like to wish Richard and the team every success for the future. I have little doubt that the business will continue to flourish and I am delighted that Richard has taken on the role as managing partner."

James Bagley

Meanwhile, across town at Bondholder Smith Cooper, Andrew Delve has announced his stepping down after two decades as managing partner and handing over the reins to James Bagley. James has worked closely with Andrew over a number of years and is regarded as a gifted business advisor and respected leader.

Andrew Delve commented: "I am proud of what this firm has achieved over the last 20 years and supremely confident that further growth and success will follow under James' leadership."

Smith Cooper scoop SME Deal of the Year 2016

The Corporate Finance team at Bondholder Smith Cooper has won the prestigious SME Deal of the Year accolade for the second year running at Insider’s Dealmaker Awards.

The Insider Dealmaker Awards remain an extremely prestigious and well regarded event in the region’s calendar, bringing together the key corporate finance firms and individuals who have been busy successfully creating deals over the past 12 months.

Smith Cooper were shortlisted for three categories; Advisory Team of the Year, SME Deal of the Year and Deal of the Year at the 2016 Awards which took place on 19th May, and on the night scooped the SME Deal of the Year for the sale of the UK’s largest designer-outlet jewellery chain, Chapelle Jewellery, to Hilco Capital.

John Farnsworth, Corporate Finance Partner at Smith Cooper commented: “We were delighted to be shortlisted for three Awards, but winning SME Deal of the Year two years running last night was the icing on the cake – and a tribute to the hard work of the whole Smith Cooper team”.  

The deal was led by Smith Cooper’s Corporate Finance team members John Farnsworth and David Crump who acted as lead advisers to Paul and Margaret Mortimer, shareholders of the 24-site Chapelle Jewellery business.  Legal advice was provided by Martyn Brierley of Flint Bishop, whilst Natasha Smith, a Partner specialising in transactional tax at Smith Cooper, provided tax advice.

In 2015 Smith Cooper Corporate Finance had a record year, ranking 9th in terms of deal volume in the Midlands. In the last year it has grown through a number of key appointments including two new Partners, Darren Hodson and Dan Bowtell, who head the Corporate finance divisions in Birmingham and Nottingham respectively, and Logan Mantle in Derby. A further appointment is imminent.

Smith Cooper celebrates 30 years with new partner

New partner at Smith Cooper, James Delve

New partner at Smith Cooper, James Delve

A director at Bondholder Smith Cooper has been promoted to partner.

James’ appointment is representative of the ongoing success and development of the firm
— David Nelson, Partner at Smith Cooper

James Delve joined the firm in 2009 and has since led the firm's audit team in Derby and has also worked closely with its business advisory team.

The promotion comes as Smith Cooper celebrates its 30th year in business and reaching the £11m mark in turnover for its last financial year.

David Nelson, Partner at Smith Cooper, said: "James' appointment is representative of the ongoing success and development of the firm and we are delighted to welcome him to the partnership. The recognition and promotion of our top talent is a high priority for our firm."

Astute changes for recruitment agency

Managing Director of Astute Recruitment, Mary Maguire.

Managing Director of Astute Recruitment, Mary Maguire.

Starting 2016 on a high, Bondholder Astute Recruitment has launched a brand new website alongside a complete rebrand of its business.

Through the rebrand they are communicating a different message to the market, and their journey is something I’m very proud to be a part of
— Simon Gray, Non-Executive Director

The website was debuted at a small celebration event at Derbyshire County Cricket Club that reflected on the company's success over the past six years. The new website and brand showcases the bespoke services which Astute Recruitment offers and highlights testimonials from leading clients including 3aaa, Smith Cooper and more.

Non-Executive Director, Simon Gray, said: "Both Sarah and Mary have worked hard to make Astute stand out from its competitors. They understand the requirements of SMEs. Through the rebrand they are communicating a different message to the market, and their journey is something I'm very proud to be a part of."

Astute Recruitment has worked with a wide range of businesses including SMEs, corporate blue chips and global FTSE 100 businesses across the Midlands include JCB, Intercontinental Hotels, CEVA Logistics, DHL and Aspin Group.