Acquisition of Powell & Harber
In Jan-15, Goodfish acquired Powell & Harber (Precision Engineers) Ltd, a plastic injection-moulding and toolmaking business based in Worcester. Bill Harber and Tony Powell, who set up the business in 1979 and developed it over 35 years to become a leading moulder and toolmaker for domestic heating, medical, automotive and defence applications, were looking to retire from the business after a long stint at the helm. Their retirement fitted in well with Goodifsh’s expansion plans and a deal was reached in Dec-14, with the acquisition of the company completed in Jan-15. Powell Harber is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Goodfish, retaining its trading name, its management team and its customers, as before.
To help fund the acquisition, and Goodfish’s on-going development plans, Goodfish took on a £1 million investment from Finance Birmingham, a private equity firm set up by Birmingham City Council. “This has given us the opportunity to expand not just into new sectors, such as medical, defence and domestic heating, but it has also given us access to more capacity at the smaller end of the weight range, where we were becoming constrained. We now have two plants, both serving automotive applications, but where one (Cannock) can provide larger mouldings (up to 800t) and where the other (Worcester) specialises in smaller moldings (35t to 270t). It also provides us with two manufacturing sites in the industrial concentration that is the West Midlands, although Powell & Harber exports a significant proportion of its mouldings to Poland, Turkey and other ‘low cost’ economies. Ironic, really…“, says Goodfish Group MD, Greg McDonald.
“A major rationale for the acquisition was the combination of two toolrooms, both still run from their existing locations, but able to help each other out through the peaks and troughs that are so familiar to toolmakers. With 12 toolmakers and an enviable collection of wire-eroding, spark-eroding, CNC millers and precision grinders, our two toolrooms have become a major strength of our expanding business. Another benefit of the acquisition is that it gives us an in-house tool design capability, something we had previously outsourced. We can still tap into our established outsourced capability, as and when required, but it’s nice to have this capability in-house to support our day-to-day needs. Working with a SolidWorks platform, integrated CAD-CAM into our toolroom, we’ve significantly reduced the time needed to move from a fully drafted component to a fully moulded component. That counts for a lot in today’s market.”
Goodfish intends to continue to expand organically and via acquisition. “We’re always looking at potential new acquisitions“, added Greg McDonald. “We want to achieve what we believe to be critical mass in what we see as an overly-fragmented industry. There are too many ‘mom & pop‘ shops for today’s customer requirements – customers expect a level of management depth and sophistication that simply isn’t affordable by smaller businesses.”