Employee Ownership Trust takes the wheel at F1 supplier

Retrac Group
  • Precision engineering services firm Retrac Productions is acquired by employees in an eight-figure deal
  • New Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) secures multi-million-pound loan from Shawbrook Bank to support acquisition
  • The move follows a growth in appetite for such schemes, with more than a quarter of the UK’s EOTs set up in 2019 alone*

A leading UK precision engineering firm has transferred ownership to an Employee Ownership Trust in an eight-figure deal as the business targets future growth, with support from Shawbrook Bank.

Retrac Group’s new Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) takes full equity of the Swindon-based company from chairman Andy Carter, whose father established the business in 1972.

The move follows a sharp increase in appetite for the ownership model across the UK. Introduced by the Government in 2014, the number of employee-owned businesses grew by 28% in 2019 alone*.

Retrac Group, which supplies highly complex parts and components to Formula 1 teams and major manufacturers in automotive and aerospace, is targeting revenue growth of 50% by 2023 under its new ownership.

The Swindon-based firm, which employs 122 staff from its base in Wiltshire, turned to Shawbrook Bank to help finance the acquisition, securing a multi-million-pound commercial loan with ICON Corporate Finance acting as advisor to the company.

The trust will be led by newly appointed CEO Dan Walmsley, who joins the company after four years as McLaren’s motorsport director and four years as team principle at GT team, Strakka Racing.

Dan Walmsley, CEO at Retrac Group, said:

“In 50 years, the family and employees behind Retrac have earned an excellent reputation for working with leading names in manufacturing to solve critical engineering and design challenges.

“The new EOT gives our team full security for safeguarding this legacy, and over the firm’s bright future as we target growth by helping clients realise tomorrow’s technologies, like electric-powered flight and motorsports. As a specialist lender, Shawbrook Bank proved itself as a dependable partner throughout this process and its support has been instrumental in helping us to begin this new chapter for the business.”

Oliver Jenkins, Relationship Director for the South West and Wales at Shawbrook Bank, said:

“We’re seeing EOTs become increasingly popular with exiting business owners who want to protect the legacy of what they’ve built, while leaving it in experienced and knowledgeable hands.

“This EOT will recognise and reward the loyal and ambitious workforce at Retrac. Together with Dan bringing unparalleled industry insight and expertise to the business as CEO, the company has an excellent footing for growth as it supports clients rise to new challenges.

“At Shawbrook, we’re specialists in supporting SMEs, providing businesses with the funding they need to facilitate their succession planning to ensure a sustainable and successful future.”

Shoosmiths and Azets acted on behalf of Shawbrook Bank, with Ashfords, MHA McIntyre Hudson and Smith and Williamson supporting Retrac Group.

*According to the White Rose Centre for Employee Ownership survey published June 2020