Fired Earth was established in 1984 as an importer and retailer of handmade floor and wall tiles. Since then the product range has expanded to include paints, fabrics, rugs and furniture.
At the point of our public-to-private investment, Fired Earth operated 15 showrooms and 13 franchises in the UK and the rest of Europe, and was listed on the London Stock Exchange.
We were attracted to the business because of its strong brand name and unique home furnishings proposition which in turn allowed the company to achieve high profit margins. There was virtually no direct competition in this niche market and we saw the opportunity to open further showrooms both in the UK and overseas as well as to extend the product range.
At the time of its take private by Silverfleet Capital, Fired Earth needed to transition from being a small owner-managed business into one with modern systems and professional retail standards capable of supporting the planned further growth. We appointed a new Chairman, John Lovering, and a new CEO to take over from the founder to implement this change, which was accompanied by a successful roll-out of further showrooms and franchises.
Fired Earth achieved a significant increase in turnover during the course of our investment and attracted interest from a number of potential trade acquirers. Eventually, in July 2001 we sold the business to Aga Food Services plc who were looking to increase their retail activities, generating a 2x money multiple.