Akzo Nobel abdicate Crown

Crown Paints, the Darwen-based paint manufacturers, have been bought by their management for 70m.

The deal, backed by UK investment fund Endless was agreed with Dutch owner Akzo Nobel.

The deal covers Crown sites in Hull, Warrington, Belfast and Dublin and the sale was on the instructions of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission following Akzo’s £8bn purchase of Dulux-owner ICI, giving the group more than half the UK paint market.

Crown Paints has annual revenues of about £180m and 15% market share in the UK and Ireland. The new bosses plan significant investment and aim to increase sales to £200m within three years. The company operate 126 Crown Decorator Centres across the UK and Ireland, and expect to roll out up to 10 new ones a year.

The deal was spearheaded by Crown chief executive Howard Luft, who is joined on the board by finance director Eric Mulholland, retail boss Joe Devitt, Endless managing director Warwick Ley, and new chairman Graham Hallworth, a former partner at venture capital outfit Alchemy.

Hallworth, said: “This is a very exciting time for everyone in the business as we return to independence.

“Crown is an extremely strong brand that is experiencing sales growth and it is essential that we remain competitive in current trading conditions.”

Hallworth said the level of investment from Endless had put the business in a strong position to boost sales.

The European Commission still has to give approval for the buy-out, which is expected within the next two months.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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