Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Employee Ownership Trust in the driving seat at Swindon-based F1 supplier

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Dan Walmsley


A Swindon-based precision engineering firm has transferred ownership to an Employee Ownership Trust in an eight-figure deal as the business targets future growth, with support from Shawbrook Bank.

Retrac Group’s new Employee Ownership Trust has taken full equity of the Techno Trading Estate-based company from chairman Andy Carter, whose father established the business in 1972.

The move follows a sharp increase in appetite for the ownership model across the UK. Introduced by the Government in 2014, the number of employee-owned businesses grew by 28 percent in 2019 alone.

Retrac Group, which supplies highly complex parts and components to Formula 1 teams and major manufacturers in automotive and aerospace, is targeting revenue growth of 50 percent by 2023 under its new ownership.

The firm, which employs 122 staff, turned to Shawbrook Bank to help finance the acquisition, securing a multi-million-pound commercial loan with ICON Corporate Finance acting as advisor to the company.

The trust will be led by newly appointed CEO Dan Walmsley (pictured) who joins the company after four years as McLaren’s motorsport director and four years as team principal at GT team, Strakka Racing.

“In 50 years, the family and employees behind Retrac have earned an excellent reputation for working with leading names in manufacturing to solve critical engineering and design challenges," said Dan.

“The new EOT gives our team full security for safeguarding this legacy, and over the firm’s bright future as we target growth by helping clients realise tomorrow’s technologies, like electric-powered flight and motorsports.

"As a specialist lender, Shawbrook Bank proved itself as a dependable partner throughout this process and its support has been instrumental in helping us to begin this new chapter for the business.”

Oliver Jenkins, relationship director for the South West and Wales at Shawbrook Bank, said: “We’re seeing EOTs become increasingly popular with exiting business owners who want to protect the legacy of what they’ve built, while leaving it in experienced and knowledgeable hands.

“This EOT will recognise and reward the loyal and ambitious workforce at Retrac. Together with Dan bringing unparalleled industry insight and expertise to the business as CEO, the company has an excellent footing for growth as it supports clients rise to new challenges.

“At Shawbrook, we’re specialists in supporting SMEs, providing businesses with the funding they need to facilitate their succession planning to ensure a sustainable and successful future.”

Shoosmiths and Azets acted on behalf of Shawbrook Bank, with Ashfords, MHA McIntyre Hudson and Smith and Williamson supporting Retrac Group.