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With support from the Scottish Investment Bank, AMG Group is fulfilling its future growth plans whilst remaining in Inverclyde

Finding the right path to future growth has been the objective for the management team behind Inverclyde-based AMG Group, one of the UK’s leading suppliers of camping and outdoor equipment.

The company had been owned by the Moodie family for nearly 50 years. So, when it became clear that they were keen to divest the business, AMG opted to pursue a management buyout (MBO) to ensure the firm – and more than 80 jobs - remained in Port Glasgow.

AMG Group Managing Director Stephen Newlands, Commercial Director Steve Craig and Product Development Director Glenn Andrews
AMG Group's Stephen Newlands, Steve Craig and Glenn Andrews

In March 2014 the company announced the MBO completion, which saw ownership pass to Managing Director Stephen Newlands, Commercial Director Steve Craig and Product Development Director Glenn Andrews.

The successful conclusion of the MBO process was the culmination of 18 months of discussions with the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and the wider Scottish Enterprise (SE) network, aimed at assisting the firm’s future growth plans. The takeover was recognised as MBO of the year at the 2014 Business Insider Deals and Dealmakers Awards.

How we helped

The business has had a long standing relationship with SE and over the years has benefited from funding and assistance on areas such as internationalisation and recruitment.

Stephen Newlands said: “This time the help we needed was more about navigating the complexities of the MBO process. SIB’s Financial Readiness Team brought invaluable expertise that we simply didn’t have in-house.

"Between the three of us, we’ve spent around 60 years in the company, so we could demonstrate an understanding of the business and what was required for it to grow. SIB made us really think through our strategy and also put us in touch with the right contacts on the accountancy side, which was extremely helpful."

Those growth ambitions were outlined in the team’s five-year plan for the business with diversification being a key element of their strategy.

AMG is the UK's leading owner and distributor of an impressive portfolio of premier outdoor, footwear and snow sports brands, each with its own unique brand identity and product range. Its portfolio includes Vango, Force Ten and Lichfield. The company is also the official supplier of recommended kit for the Scout Association.

AMG already has an excellent reputation in the market at home and abroad, exporting to around 30 countries. The team agreed that diversification would now provide real growth opportunities for the firm.

Stephen added: “Since we took over, the objective has been to build further on what was already a very successful business by maximising the available opportunities.”

“Our focus now is on taking our brands into new markets and targeting new audiences for our products. We’ve already developed the Vango Airbeam system which has revolutionised tent design by using inflatable beams in place of traditional steel poles.

“We’ve also been able to adapt the system by creating inflatable awnings for the caravan and motor-home market. That’s allowed us to tap into a completely new audience, as there's a growing market among the older population for awnings that are easy to erect and we’re now the market leader. And the diversification process will continue in 2015 with the launch of specialised Vango footwear.

“The new directions we’re looking to take the company in have been opened up to us as a result of the MBO. The assistance from SIB and the wider SE account team has played a pivotal role in that.

“In addition, RBS, the incumbent Bank, not only fought to retain the business, but have also wholeheartedly supported the MBO since its completion with advice and guidance.”

Malcolm Craig, AMG’s account manager at SE, said: “We’ve been able to build an excellent relationship with the management team over a number of years by delivering innovation support, training support and advice on graduate recruitment via our ScotGrad programme, as well as exhibition support through our colleagues in SDI.

“AMG’s willingness to involve us at an early stage of the MBO process demonstrates a strong degree of trust in that relationship and allowed SIB to tailor its assistance accordingly.”

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