Family-run rubber products manufacturer under new ownership

Posted on 11 Oct 2022 by The Manufacturer

A Retford-based firm with more than 38 years history of providing rubber products to many high-profile customers is under new ownership.

J-Flex was established in 1984 by John and Jill Kirk to produce and supply rubber-based products such as sheetings, mouldings and fabrications, and in that time has built a base of clients in more than 50 global markets, including within the aerospace, rail and pharmaceutical sectors.

Some of their biggest customers include the London Underground, Pepsico, Siemens and Tata.

The buyout of J-Flex, led by managing director, Sam Kirk, and finance director, Chris Barnes, sees the creation of a new parent company – Clockpress Holdings, which the new owners plan to use as an investment vehicle to acquire other owner-led SMEs and grow the business further with job creation.

The buyout of J-Flex, led by finance director, Chris Barnes (left) and managing director, Sam Kirk (right)

The buyout of J-Flex, led by finance director, Chris Barnes (left) and managing director, Sam Kirk (right)

Commenting on the deal, Sam Kirk, explained: “J-Flex has changed considerably over the last two to three years, and while exploring acquisition opportunities for J-Flex, John and Jill expressed an interest in possibly exiting the business.

“We are delighted to have reached a deal that allows them to achieve that, without impacting other acquisition plans and ensuring business continuity, as well as the opportunity to grow successfully.

“J-Flex has a really talented team of people capable of taking the business on to the next level, while retaining the legacy that the original owners had created.”

The deal marks the first of several expected acquisitions for Clockpress Holdings, with its second deal already completed to acquire the majority share capital in Composites Evolution – a manufacturer of prepreg and innovative materials for the composites industry in Chesterfield.

Mr Kirk said both J-Flex and Composites Evolution already shared a “like-minded approach to business” and currently work with several mutual clients within the aerospace and automotive sectors.

Composites Evolution will continue to operate as a standalone subsidiary with its existing staff.

Gordon Bishop, chief executive officer of Composites Evolution, added: “We are delighted with the deal that has been struck with Clockpress Holdings. There is already great synergy in the products, markets and business approach of both J-Flex and Composites Evolution, so it makes sense that we can now join forces and combine our expertise in this way.

“We are seeing rapid growth in demand due to our market-leading prepregs and short lead times, and we are very much looking forward to working with Clockpress Holdings to meet that demand in the coming months and years.”

Mr Kirk added that the acquisitions of J-Flex and Composites Evolution are just the beginning of the company’s development and negotiations for similar deals were already taking place with several other manufacturing businesses.

The transactions for both acquisitions were supported by Neil Roberts, Antony Voakes and Amy Weston of Wright Vigar Chartered Accountants and Azam Zia of Zia Harman Solicitors.

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