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On Hold: Skylaunch Ltd

Skylaunch Ltd is an interesting business of 2 complementary revenue streams, both of which trade from its location in Shropshire. On the one hand the business owns its own Skylaunch product - manufacturing the world's leading glider launch winch.  On the other, it fabricates metals generally, supplying the winches with 30% of their component content and in addition, supplying steel structures, mostly frames for buildings, to both private and public sector projects.

Gliders are nearly always launched via aerotow or winch, with the trend moving towards winch as the cheaper and faster alternative. Skylaunch is the dominant player in the sector, both in the sale of new winches and the refurbishment of old winches. Increasingly the winch technology is being used in other specialist applications, including military projects and film special effects (for example Skylaunch were engaged in the latest James Bond move Spectre).

The fabrication business was originally separately owned by the vendor, and then folded into Skylaunch Ltd in 2013. It is run conservatively, avoiding credit risk and predominantly servicing a handful of longstanding clients, in addition to supporting the needs of the winch business.

Skylaunch operates from 4 nissen hut style buildings (one overbuilt), with a combined footprint of 13,600 sq ft, on an industrial estate in Wem, Shropshire. Two of the buildings are owned by the vendor and separately available to purchase if required or can be leased at market rate.

The business employs 16 in addition to the vendor and his wife who both work part-time. The winch side of the business is managed by the designer of the winch, for whom winches are his passion and a 2nd manager runs the fabrication business. Both managers have been with the business 18 years or more and are keen to remain. The vendor works 2 days per week, just providing an overall strategic input.

Sales in the 9 months to May 2015 and the 12 months to 2016 were £X.XM and £X.XM respectively, delivering adjusted EBITDAs of £XXXk and £XXXk. These years were atypical however, reflecting a very large winch contract with the RAF’s Air Training Corps (ATC). The forecast for the year ending May 2017 is sales of £X.XM—£X.XM delivering an adjusted EBITDA of £XXXk—£XXXk and this is viewed as a more typical year.

The Guide Price for 100% of the shares of Skylaunch Ltd is £XXXk, which will include a debt free, cash free Balance Sheet with expected Net Assets of £XXXk at book value (closer to £XXXk market value in the vendor’s view). The vendor is amenable to reasonable handover requests.


Anderson Shaw has offices on the outskirts of Coventry and provides business broker and corporate finance services for clients throughout the Midlands and the UK.

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