The focus is on business ownership - whether that’s someone starting out and needing to raise capital, to helping a business to grow by securing funding, through to positioning a business for sale.
Helping entrepreneurs benefit from the fruits of their labours. Supporting a hard-working team to buy the business to which they’re dedicated. Advising an owner on how to find funding to help their organisation flourish and grow… with such a positive role to play in the success of North East businesses it’s little wonder Angus Allan is so enthusiastic about his job.
“I am passionate about what I do. I love helping clients to achieve their goals, whilst supporting business success in the North East,” he says.
Angus is celebrating more than 15 years as corporate finance partner at Clive Owen, having led the full-time introduction of the service to the firm in 2002. A fully qualified accountant he trained and worked at KPMG for 14 years. He saw an opportunity to build his own team and has since completed numerous transactions, many of which have been new clients to the firm, attracted by his expertise and client-centric approach.
Unsurprisingly, he has also won some awards along the way including, most recently, North East Deal of the Year and Corporate Finance Advisor of the Year in the Insider Deal Maker Awards.
Funding is fundamental to facilitating growth opportunities, explains Allan. "We appraise each business before preparing a business plan, including financial projections. Using our experience of investment structures and valuations, we can place a business with an appropriate funder and give the owner independent advice to allow them to make informed decisions.”
When dealing with disposals, his responsibility is to give clear, pragmatic, commercial advice to deliver the best deal for the client, often advising owners on what they need to do to maximise their sale price. Managing expectations and driving the process adeptly is also a large part of the role.
The past 18 months has seen a spike in disposals and there are various factors driving this, explains Allan. "There is pent-up demand following the recession; the tax system has been advantageous and Brexit concerns have added uncertainty resulting in some owners now seeking an opportunity to cash in. Finally, the market in the UK is competitive for international buyers. Whereas the large corporates were paying down debt five years ago, they’re now cash-rich and looking for businesses that complement their current portfolio.”
Notable examples of this are the French conglomerate Suez Group, which snapped up Derwentside Environmental Testing Services, Vinci Industries’ acquisition of QSI Group and the sale of The Window Bureau to Cairngorm Capital.
As a proud Geordie, Allan is sensitive to local businesses being acquired by foreign buyers, which is why he is also keen to help the region’s aspiring entrepreneurs undertake management buyouts, drawing on his wide experience of the venture capital and banking sectors.
Acquiring another business can seem attractive but to mitigate risk, Allan and his team will assess a target’s strengths and weaknesses before making an approach to ensure suitability and fit.
Having helped the three directors of Inshore Fisheries at Hartlepool buy the business in 2012, he has just assisted in securing them funding from the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund-FW Capital Debt Finance, managed by FW Capital, which will help the company to capitalise on growth opportunities.
"Basically, we put our clients at the heart of everything we do. We take time to understand their needs, temper their expectations using our external perspective and experience and then expedite the process of achieving their goals. We leverage our breadth of knowledge and expertise to drive the best outcome for the client. It’s a challenging role but thoroughly rewarding in the end,’’ he says.
Angus Allan, corporate finance partner at Clive Owen, can be contacted on 01325 349700 or at email@example.com