Daniel Kirmatzis sat down with Richard Harden, CEO of Henley-based manufacturer Stuart Turner, to discuss the company’s remarkable growth in recent years.
Founded in 1906, Stuart Turner is internationally recognised for its design and manufacturing of water boosting pumps and systems. Since joining the company, Richard has built upon its growth strategy which has seen the company acquire Yorkshire-based Fluid Water Solutions in order to expand its Aquaboost range, and Suffolk-based GAH Heating to consolidate its position as the UK’s market leader for low mains water pressure and flow boosting solutions.
Most recently, in March 2021, the company acquired Worcestershire-based pressurisation specialist Mikrofill Systems which will allow Stuart Turner to offer a wider variety of products and services and provide customers with comprehensive HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and water supply solutions. It is a remarkable growth success story and one developed with the guidance of mid-market private equity firm LDC which backed the management buy-out of the company in 2017.
What is the business’ growth strategy?
“Having spent over 25 years myself in the pump industry, primarily focused on commercial building services, the ultimate aim at Stuart Turner is to take our market lead in knowledge and experience in the residential sector across into the commercial building services and industrial sector and continue to expand our export markets. We want to become a full solutions provider to power water across multiple applications, not only in the UK, but into those wider export markets.”
Mid-market private equity firm LDC backed Stuart Turner in 2017. Why did you choose a private equity partner and how have you found working with one?
“LDC was chosen before I joined the company. However, I can fully understand why they were chosen, in fact, along with the great potential that I could see at Stuart Turner, the backing by LDC was a key attraction for me to join.
“The relationship with LDC is a true partnership. They’ve allowed the leadership team to set the strategy and essentially get on and run the business, backing our ambition. They’ve provided follow-on funding to allow us to support our continued acquisitions and, more broadly, provided expertise and sector experience to help us identify and integrate the businesses that we have acquired and really support us in our growth objectives.
“The team at LDC has been a great source of expertise and guidance and helped to shape our strategy for the future.”
Do you have any advice for other SME manufacturers seeking investment?
“Quite simple really, private equity backing can help you move quickly and realise your ambition. If you have a vision, then the right partner can allow you to unlock the potential quickly. My view is go for it.”
Listen back to the full interview on this episode of The Manufacturer Podcast.
Images courtesy of Stuart Turner