Friday, December 18, 2015

News: Fishing Republic reels in first acquisition

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Rotherham-based retailer, Fishing Republic has announced its first acquisition since it launched onto the stock market earlier this year.

he placing of ten million new shares at 15p per share in June has raised £1.5m for the Eastwood company that is already one of the largest retailers of fishing tackle in the UK by floorspace.

Floating on AIM, the directors believe that Fishing Republic is the only participant in the market looking to act as a consolidator and snapping up smaller, often family-owned fishing retail businesses.

The group has the benefit of "first-mover advantage" and has announced that it has acquired the business and assets of FishXL Limited, trading as Cotswold Angling.

The group currently operates a chain of seven "destination" retail outlets in the North of England and the company is set to grow through acquisitions and the opening of further large format "destination" stores.

Fishing Republic is opening a new 11,000 sq ft store in Crewe and is supporting the expansion by raising £500,000 through a placing of 3,125,000 new ordinary shares of 1p each at a price of 16p per Placing Share.

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An update to the stock exchange said: "The acquisition of Cotswold Angling establishes Fishing Republic with a presence in the South of England, with the new store in Crewe complementing the company's existing outlets in the North of England. Both moves are part of the company's stated strategy to build a significant market presence through acquisition and organic growth."

They follow Fishing Republic's planned expansion into the West Midlands, with the opening of a store in South Birmingham, and the upgrading of its Hull outlet to new larger premises.

Established in 2000 and based near Swindon, Cotswold Angling operates from a 4,100 sq ft site at a light industrial unit and caters for all types of fishing disciplines. In the year to 30 September 2014, Cotswold Angling generated sales of approximately £0.43m and made a marginal operating profit. The total consideration for the acquisition is £170,000. The co-founder and director of the business, Trevor Gunning, will be joining the senior management team of Fishing Republic as a regional operations manager.

At the close of the main fishing season, Fishing Republic reported its financial results for the four months ending October 31 2015, which had sales up by 43% on the same period last year.

Steve Gross, chief executive of Fishing Republic, said: "I am delighted to announce Fishing Republic's first acquisition since we joined AIM in June and the planned opening of a new store in Crewe. The acquisition of Cotswold Angling establishes our presence in the South of England while the new outlet at Crewe complements our existing store network in the North of England. Both outlets readily fit our 'destination store' model, which is designed to attract fishermen from a wide area.

"Our aim is to build a substantial presence in a market which is highly fragmented, and we will continue to look for further opportunities to expand our geographic footprint whilst also building our online offering."

Fishing Republic website

Images: Fishing Republic

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