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Showcases the strength of Cavendish’s corporate finance team

Canburg, owner of two of the world’s most renowned luxury fitted furniture businesses – Smallbone of Devizes and Mark Wilkinson Furniture – has secured £8million capital investment from Business Growth Fund (BGF), the UK’s most active growth capital investor, which will take a minority stake in the business.

BGF’s investment will enable the group to accelerate its UK and international growth strategy.  This will build on the success and vision that has seen its products take centre stage in the world’s most exclusive developments, becoming the choice of A-List celebrities such as Dustin Hoffman, Sir Elton John and Oprah Winfrey.

It will also create up to 40 jobs at the group’s UK showrooms and the workshop in Devizes, Wiltshire, where all its products are hand-made by 170 experienced craftsmen and women. Further jobs will be created overseas.

CEO Leo Caplan established Canburg in 2009 to purchase Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson Furniture. The British entrepreneur committed more than £10 million to the long-established businesses, enabling them to return to profitability. Following a successful restructuring programme, the group made EBITDA £2.1 million from sales of almost £30 million in the 12 months to 30 June, 2013. Profits are expected to have increased to over £3 million EBITDA in the year to June 2014

Smallbone is the ultimate in bespoke cabinetry, founded on a time-honoured British craft tradition, with a passion for quality and design. Internationally recognised as the leading global luxury kitchen company, it has revolutionised the form of kitchens, establish enduring fashions and been instrumental in the kitchen’s metamorphosis from cooking space to social hub.

Mark Wilkinson Furniture has set the style icons for classic and contemporary furniture for over three decades and has brought fitted furniture for the kitchen and rooms throughout the home into the highest echelons of fine luxury living.

The group has multiple routes to market, selling directly to high net worth customers through showrooms, in partnership with in-market dealerships, as well as selling to developers of luxury properties in leading locations such as New York City.

Howard Leigh, Senior Partner at Cavendish Corporate Finance, commented:

“Canburg has great heritage and is an outstanding example of British craftsmanship and expertise. It is a great brand ambassador for UK overseas, with around a third of its sales coming from international customers at a time when the Government is calling on businesses to boost their exports and accelerate the economic recovery. We were very happy to play our part in helping the firm secure investment from the British Growth Fund and the specialist expertise of our corporate finance team in the capital raising arena is one of its core strengths. We have been working with the team at Smallbone for a few years planning the best result and are really delighted that BGF are the new long term partners”

Leo Caplan, CEO of the Canburg Group, commented:

“This is a really exciting time for Canburg. I first invested in these businesses because of my passion for the luxury furniture they both make. The fact that the furniture is hand made in the UK and supplied globally is a fantastic testament to our cabinet making heritage. I have inherited a love of timber as my grandfather was a timber merchant. Canburg is proud of its highly skilled workforce, many of whom have been with the companies for decades.

 I started considering the strategic options for the group almost a year ago after being approached by prospective buyers, and instructed Cavendish Corporate Finance to assess these. I wasn’t looking to sell but started exploring how best to take the business to the next level. The process reminded me why I fell in love with these companies in the first place and the fantastic opportunities that are available. I am confident that, over the next five years, we can grow the business from its current valuation of over £50 million (post investment) to a global luxury group worth in excess of £500 million.”

Paul OIdham, Regional Director at BGF, commented:

“Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson Furniture represent the highest standards of British design and manufacturing, which are held in high esteem all over the world. Leo and his management team have very successfully capitalised on this, building an impressive international reputation and broad customer base.  They have looked to BGF to put investment behind their ambition to create a truly global business; we share this vision and over the next few years fully expect to see Canburg take a dominant role among a select group of successful British design and manufacturing businesses operating on the international stage.”

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