Aqualisa designs and manufactures a range of digital, mixer and electric showers and accessories, retailing through builders’ merchants, distributors and showrooms. It is the market leader in digital showers - one of the fastest growing categories in the bathroom products market, where its patented processing unit delivers superior product performance, unrivalled reliability and improved water efficiency. RBS and Sankaty became majority shareholders of the business through a debt-for-equity swap in 2013 following a downturn in market conditions during the global financial crisis.
RBS became a lender to Aqualisa at the time of CBPE’s acquisition of the business in 2004, with Sankaty acquiring 50% of the debt when it bought a larger portfolio of underperforming loans from Lloyds in 2012. A new management team was subsequently recruited and successfully implemented a fresh strategy enabling Sankaty and RBS to exit their investment. The company had received a number of unsolicited approaches and, in June 2015, Catalyst was appointed to assess the shareholders’ strategic options.
What difference did we make?
Catalyst undertook a strategic review including a valuation of the business. Based on this valuation price negotiations were entered into with LDC and in parallel Aqualisa’s business plan was finalised and the business prepared for sale. The shareholders required certainty over the equity value to be paid on completion and, therefore, we negotiated a detailed heads of terms including negotiation around the locked box mechanism. In parallel with these negotiations, Catalyst continued to prepare for a wider sale process in order to maintain competitive advantage.
LDC completed the transaction within a six week period of exclusivity, delivering the agreed commercial terms. The resultant deal gave the management team an attractive equity package and a funding structure to deliver on their business plan.