New owners for Kingsward Group as founding Directors complete sale of family business

Senior Investment Executive
Buying a business
Growing a business

Young entrepreneur Will Kinder has been announced as the Managing Director of The Kingsward Group following a management buy-in that has enabled the founding directors to retire.

Margaret and Alan Keetch have sold the Ferndale-based metal fabrication business that they established in 1990 to 32 year old Will Kinder, previously a Director of engineering company Aluqo which is a customer of the Kingsward Group. Funding for the management buy-in was provided by the Development Bank of Wales with a mix of debt and equity alongside the growth and working capital provider, Growth Lending.

Employing 25 people on the Oaklands Business Park in Ferndale, The Kingsward Group incorporates three separate businesses specialising in tube bending and welding, laser cutting and powder coating. Key markets include office furniture and retail. As Managing Director, Will is being supported by Jason Keetch who is staying with the business as Operations Director. The Development Bank has then appointed experienced Non-Executive Director Mark Pulman as Chair of Kingsward with David Pearce of SME Finance Partners taking the position of Finance Director.

Will Kinder said: “With a background in engineering and manufacturing, I understand the importance of high quality production and processes. Having known Kingsward as a customer, I know just how well-respected the business is as a local employer with excellent standards.

“Margaret and Alan have built a solid business but the time is now right for them to realise the value of all of their hard work over the years and for me to work with the team to realise the future potential.

“We’ve got a loyal and long-standing workforce who have made the business what it is today. We also have a customer base that wants to work with local supply chain partners to help boost the local economy and reduce carbon footprint. We’ve therefore got a great opportunity for growth by maintaining quality but expanding in to new markets.

“With the continued support of Jason as Operations Director, the Development Bank as our investment partners, Mark as Chair and David taking care of the finances, we’ve got a winning team. Indeed, I’ve quickly realised the value of having such great people on my side – as a young entrepreneur, it’s given me real confidence as I focus on the long-term sustainable success of Kingsward.”

Emily Jones and Ashley Jones, Investment Executives with the Development Bank of Wales said: “At just 32, Will is one of the youngest entrepreneurs that we have supported with a management buy-in to date. He has built a successful career and has the drive to deliver on his vision for the Kingsward Group as a well-established engineering business with the support of an excellent team around him. With a mix of debt and equity,  we’ve been able to facilitate a management buy-in that retains this specialist engineering business in the local area and safeguards jobs with flexible and affordable finance. We look forward to working with Will in his new role.”

Kelvin Thomas, Principal at Growth Lending said: “It is good to work in collaboration with the Development Bank of Wales to support a local business with growth potential. Recognising a strong proposition and how appropriate investment can take it to the next level is exactly what Growth Lending is all about, so we are pleased to support Kingsward as it continues on its growth journey.”

Finance for the management buy-in came from the Wales Management Succession Fund and the Wales Business Fund, alongside capital from Growth Lending.  GS Verde advised Will Kinder on the purchase and Capital Law acted for the Development Bank of Wales.