Sale of Laboratory Glassware & Medical Washer Sales & Service Business

Sale of Laboratory Glassware & Medical Washer Sales & Service Business

Reference: HLD131
Turnover: £1.7m
Deal completed in: 6 Months

Sale of Laboratory Glassware & Medical Washer Sales & Service Business

The Company

The Scientific Instrument Centre (SIC) came to Hornblower after having researched the market . Having downloaded our Free Guide on How to Value and Maximise the Value of Your Business, they got in touch. The owner had for many years been the Chairman of SIC, a family company founded by his father just after the Second World War. There was no succession, leaving the owner to consider how best to realise the value in the company for the benefit of his family whilst at the same time safeguarding the interests of the long term employees and customers of the company.

Established in 1947, SIC had positioned itself as the UK market leader in the sales of professional laboratory glassware washers and medical washer disinfectors. It also supplies related process chemicals, other laboratory equipment, and has a growing business in the sales of specialist disinfectant wipes to public and private healthcare bodies.

Over its 75-year trading history, SIC had achieved broad nationwide market sector engagement, including Industry, Healthcare, Government and Education, with its customer relationships defined by longevity and repeat business. Notable customers include leading multinational Life Sciences companies; Russell Group and other Universities; leading Colleges and Schools; NHS England, Scotland and Wales; Government and Defence organisations; and numerous well established commercial companies.

SIC came to the market with a robust financial position, being debt-free and benefitting from a consistently positive cash flow. The company had also attained a strong forward work pipeline, with some being of a multi-year nature.


The Situation

Following the initial contact with SIC, Hornblower prepared a free indicative valuation and had several meetings to help the two co-owners prepare for a sale, highlighting how buyers were likely to view and scrutinise the business.

The market for niche businesses which service the research laboratory sector is always very buoyant, and as anticipated, we received a lot of interest in a short space of time. In the 4 months that it took us to reach heads of terms with the preferred bidder after launching the business on the market, we had received over 75 enquiries.

With this level of enquiry, our job is to really focus in on the most suited buyers with serious interest in this opportunity. As a result, we had a good many meetings with qualified and funded prospective buyers – namely trade buyers and PE investment firms – which brought real competition to the deal.

As with many deals, there were many detailed aspects to be agreed and negotiated through due diligence and the drawing up of contracts, which is an area we pride ourselves on in managing transactions to a successful conclusion.


The Outcome

The deal completed in March 2023 with no delays, just 8 months from starting the process. As an independent, owner-managed company, SIC was an ideal fit for the buyer, Perrin and Partners; an acquirer with a focus on retaining strong management teams and respecting the existing culture of longstanding businesses within its portfolio.  The acquisition additionally represents a valuable cash generating addition to the portfolio of businesses that Perrin and Partners is building.

The result is a secure financial future for both the vendors of SIC, who being in their 70’s and 80’s had just reached retirement age.  A relatively short handover period was agreed.

Overall, the sale process proved a favourable and positive experience for David Harrison, the retiring Chairman, who commented, “I considered myself fortunate to come across Hornblower, [and was] immediately impressed by their assurance that their representative, Derick Humphrey, would be assigned to the marketing of my company and would remain with us right through to completion.

Derick turned out to be a man of infinite patience as we slowly worked our way through the process of first identifying then successfully negotiating the sale to a company which fulfils all the criteria originally demanded by myself.  As this is a testimonial it is also worth mentioning that Hornblower’s costs were very much more reasonable than their competitors.”

The deal was managed by our Business Sales and Acquisitions Consultant, Derick Humphrey. Derick manages business sales for Hornblower across the South of the UK. The vendors were also advised by Cook Corporate (Legal).

SOLD – February 2023

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