Chris joined the board of directors of Pyrotect as ‘MD designate’ in June 2014, working with Pyrotect’s founder David Harris. Chris and David began their buy-out discussions in February 2015 and, in November 2016, Chris took a 51% shareholding, with David selling the majority of his shares and moving into the role of non-executive Chairman. Working with Chris are Russell Morgan, Sales Director, and Melanie Young, Finance Director who, as part of the MBO, also increased their stakes in the business.
‘It was a very amicable transaction’, explains Chris. ‘David is staying with Pyrotect as a director and, in addition to attending the monthly board meetings, he is an incredibly useful sounding board and wise counsel – he knows this business and the fire protection industry inside out.’
‘I couldn’t have done it without Clayton & Brewill. Doug gave me total confidence that he would identify and correct any issues. I knew where to go when it came to a detailed financial transaction and I simply couldn’t have done the deal without him. It’s a big investment for me and my fellow directors so I needed to be confident that we were investing our money wisely and were protected.’
Chris set up Pyrotect Holdings Limited to acquire the share capital of Pyrotect Ltd and carry out the MBO.
Pyrotect has 14 office-based staff and approximately 120 people out on site, of which 30 are direct employees. The business currently turns over £7m and is growing quickly due to large contract wins, but chasing turnover is not a priority, says Chris: ‘I want Pyrotect to be the first company that people call when they need fire protection services. This will come through relationships and excellent service – growth will naturally follow.’
Over the last three years clients are increasingly turning to regulated and accredited providers – something that very much works in Pyrotect’s favour. The company has an impressive roster of clients including most of the large main contractors, along with providing an equal service to the smaller builder who may need more guidance through the detailed requirements of fire protection.
Pyrotect operates in sectors including health, education, residential, commercial, student accommodation and also defence. A big growth area is in remediating failing buildings that were developed under PFI projects.
Pyrotect provides complete supply and install systems for fire protection, fire stopping, air sealing and acoustic sealing to new and existing buildings. Its specialist products include an intumescent paint – a thin film coating that is applied to structural steel members to protect against fire. In the event of fire, the intumescent paint rapidly expands to give a protective coating to the steel.
‘It has been a pleasure working with Chris and the team on the MBO. Pyrotect is a successful business operating in a growing sector, and we are looking forward to working with Chris and the other shareholders as they continue to grow the company and strengthen its market-leading reputation in fire prevention and protection.’