Robert Dyas Group has been sold to Gladys Emmanuel Limited, a company wholly owned by Theo Paphitis, for an undisclosed sum.
Theo Paphitis, famous for his appearances on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den series, heads a retail and property empire that includes the stationery chain Ryman and lingerie chain Boux Avenue.
Robert Dyas’ majority shareholders have been Allied Irish Banks and Lloyds Banking Group since the restructuring of the business in 2009 via a debt for equity arrangement. In January a sales process was initiated.
Geoff Brady, the outgoing chairman of Robert Dyas, commented: ”I’m delighted that the business has attracted an entrepreneur of Theo’s stature: his track record for growing retail businesses is second to none. Under his chairmanship Ryman, which shares both the ’convenience’ retail positioning of Robert Dyas and a long and distinguished history on Britain’s high street, has gone from strength to strength growing both organically and through acquisitions.”
“The sales process attracted a great deal of interest from potential buyers, both from the UK and overseas, but I believe this transaction provides significant benefits both to the Robert Dyas team and to our customers. We will not only benefit from the expertise and experience of Theo and his team, but will also see a considerable strengthening of our financial position that will support the continuing development of the Robert Dyas business.”
He said the sale comes against a background of robust trading from the company and strong cashflow. Like-for-like sales growth was 3.8% in the company’s last financial year to 31 March 2012. The company’s sales performance accelerated in the second half of that year and that underlying strength has continued into the current year.
Theo Paphitis, who will join the Robert Dyas Board as chairman said: “I’m very pleased with the purchase of the Robert Dyas business. It is a business which fits well with my investment criteria and I’m looking forward to working with the management team who have done an excellent job in getting Robert Dyas to where it is today.”
The current chief executive, Graham Coles, will stay in his position along with other members of the Robert Dyas board. Chairman Geoff Brady and non-executive director Ian Gray leave the board. Kypros Kyprianou, group chief executive of Ryman, joins the board as director.