TFC Ltd Tightens Its Grip On The Market


A Sussex company has continued its successful buy-and-build strategy after sealing a deal that strengthens its position in the global industrial fasteners market.

Heathfield-based TFC Ltd, which is one of Europe’s leading suppliers of technical fasteners to industry and manufacturing, has acquired ESF Ltd, a Yorkshire company with a strong presence in the north of England. The £1.5 million deal is TFC’s third acquisition in as many years.

The opportunity was introduced to TFC by the corporate finance team of Crowe Clark Whitehill, a leading national firm offering audit, tax and business advisory services with local offices in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone. The team negotiated with the vendors and advisors of ESF and managed the acquisition process on behalf of TFC from start to finish.

Expert legal advice to help complete the transaction was provided by Vertex Law, a Kent-based firm of corporate and commercial lawyers. Finance was secured from NatWest and RBS Invoice Finance.

This deal was hot on the heels of the acquisition in June of Specialised Fastener Products Ltd, a transaction where Crowe Clark Whitehill also provided the corporate finance advice and Vertex provided legal advice.

Martin Clarke, Joint Managing Director at TFC Europe Ltd, said: “The acquisition of ESF Ltd demonstrates our commitment to grow the business further and provide an extensive range of products and services to our customers.

“We are delighted to welcome the ESF team to the TFC family and offer an enhanced service to all of ESF’s existing customers as well as new ones.

“The careful implementation of our buy-and-build strategy has been greatly assisted by the support provided by our professional advisers, in particular Vertex Law and Crowe Clark Whitehill, as well as the financial backing of NatWest.”

James Beatton, Corporate Partner at Vertex Law, added: “We have worked with TFC on its two most recent acquisitions dealing with the commercial legal aspects of the deals as well as financial matters. The group is the ideal client with a strong, motivated management team, an inclusive approach to its professional advisers and a clear strategy for growth.”

Geert Struyven, Corporate Finance Partner at Crowe Clark Whitehill, said: “I have worked with TFC now for over five years on all their acquisitions and I continue to be impressed with the management team. They achieve consistent growth and continually improve profitability through a mixture of organic expansion and acquisitions, even in a difficult economic climate.

Headquartered in Heathfield, and with operations also in Colchester, Walsall, Bochum in Germany and an office in Costa Rica, TFC supplies bespoke fasteners to industry. It also supplies more than 10,000 off-the-shelf fastening solutions, including panel, pipe and wire fasteners, springs and seals, to businesses in 24 countries around the world. As a company, TFC counts Bosch, Daimler AG, ZF Group, Bombardier Transportation Limited and Delphi Diesel Systems Limited among its 3,000 international customers.

TFC is largely funded through Sevenoaks-based private equity investor Foresight Group, which has a successful track record in finding, developing and exiting unquoted companies and providing between £1-£5 million of equity finance.

The previous two acquisitions made by TFC were Specialised Fastener Products Ltd and Cavalier Fasteners.

For more information on Vertex Law, visit www.vertexlaw.co.uk or call 01732 224000.

Photograph (L-R): Mathew Glentworth of NatWest;
 James Beatton of Vertex Law; 
Martin Clarke of TFC Europe Ltd; 
Donald Maclennan of Foresight Group
; and Geert Struyven of Crowe Clark Whitehill.

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