Investment Case Studies
Greybull rescued Ascoval, a French based electric arc furnace steel producer, in early 2019. Ascoval had suffered years of steep losses as its historical market went into structural decline and its former shareholders were no longer able to support the company. Greybull provided and arranged a EUR 100 million refinancing of the business with support from its banks and the French government. Greybull led a full scale turnaround of Ascoval’s operations, investing heavily to develop the capabilities of the steel mill to produce square semi-finished steel billets and blooms, both of which have a much larger addressable market than the products that Ascoval had been producing.
This investment enabled Ascoval to secure major new contracts, such as a EUR 500 million supply contract with SNCF, the French national rail company. The electric arc produced blooms form part of a new green steel supply chain where old rail tracks will be ‘recycled’ by Ascoval and melted into new blooms, which in turn are rolled into new rails using low emission nuclear power. This strategic pivot, as well as a general turnaround of the business led by Greybull and the management team, attracted interest from major industrial steel groups. Greybull exited its investment successfully in August 2021 to German steel group Saarstahl.
Arc Specialist Engineering
Greybull bought Metalrax in a public to private transaction and relaunched the firm as Arc Specialist Engineering in March 2013. The acquisition helped secure not only a future for the business but also the jobs of over 400 employees.
During Greybull’s ownership, Arc became a profitable cash generative business and made several strategic acquisitions to grow the Group. Following the successful turnaround and many years of profitable trading, Arc was acquired in 2017 by a private equity fund.
In 2015 Tata Steel announced the intended closure of its Long Products division in Europe. Instead, Greybull rescued the business, saving more than 4,400 jobs in the UK and 400 in France. The business was renamed British Steel and Greybull set about implementing a large, complex and ambitious turnaround. Greybull provided and arranged a financing package of over £400 million. Working in close partnership with the management team, the employees and the trade unions, British Steel was transformed from a loss-making division to a profitable standalone company in 2017. Greybull invested heavily, both in add-on acquisitions such as FN Steel in the Netherlands and in capital investment to improve and expand the existing facilities.
In 2019, Brexit complications severely impacted the company, including a marked decrease in orders from European clients and the loss of access to certain financial markets. With the support of Her Majesty’s Government, British Steel was able to trade through these difficulties and was sold to the Chinese steel manufacturer, Jingye in March 2020 who will continue the journey we started to re-establish British Steel as a vital industrial player in the United Kingdom.
The Monarch Group
Greybull rescued the Monarch Group in October 2014. The Group comprised Monarch Airlines, Monarch Aircraft Engineering and Cosmos, a tour operator. Greybull provided and arranged over £250 million of capital to support the turnaround of the business which employed 2,500 people.
Under Greybull’s ownership, the airline was swiftly returned to profitability and growth. In 2017, the airline experienced significant turbulence created by terrorism and other macroeconomic events which led to its closure, along with that of several other European airlines. As a result of Greybull’s support, Monarch kept flying for several years longer than it would have without intervention. The engineering activities were rescued and sold to trade buyers.
In 2012 Greybull backed a management team buyout of Plessey Semiconductors, an embedded technologies developer based in Plymouth. Plessey had a proud heritage and had been at the forefront of the UK’s industrial landscape for many decades, but had lost direction and focus. Greybull invested tens of millions of pounds to support the turnaround and repositioning of the business from a contract manufacturer of semiconductors into a world leading producer of Gan-on-Silicon LEDs. Greybull provided and arranged over €130 million of capital to support Plessey’s developments.
More recently Plessey took its LED technology into the new and exciting field of micro-LED technology for augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) display applications and in March 2020 announced a commercial agreement with Facebook. In 2022 Facebook/Meta acquired full control of all of Plessey’s operations.
In 2019 Greybull completed the corporate carve out of First Circle from the Nampak Group. First Circle specialises in the manufacture of HDPE and PET packaging in the UK and Ireland.
The business required a full turnaround. With the management team, Greybull invested heavily in new plant and equipment, diversified the product offerings, grew the client base and rationalised operations. First Circle returned to profitability within 24 months of the acquisition. First Circle has many important stakeholders that have benefitted from the turnaround, including the growing workforce and the Pension Trustees, which Greybull has been working closely with and engaged in the process.
In August 2021 Greybull acquired McLaren Applied from the McLaren Group.
Founded in 1991, McLaren Applied is a technology developer that focuses on electrification, telemetry, control tech and analytics. McLaren operates across motorsports, automotive, transport and industrial sectors.
Greybull’s investment is supporting the company’s significant potential and growth plans.