VIMBO: Jistcourt guest blog/profile

Robert Norman is the former owner of Jistcourt, a Port-Talbot based construction company. He handed over control of the business to his son and daughter after support for a vendor-initiated management buyout (VIMBO) from Finance Wales.

He tells us about the process:

1.  What is your name?

Robert Norman

2.  Where do you live? Where is Jistcourt based?

I live in Swansea. Jistcourt is based in Baglan in Neath Port Talbot, South Wales.

3.  Could you tell us a bit about Jistcourt? What sort of business is it?

Jistcourt is a South Wales-based construction company. Jistcourt undertakes a range of design, build and refurbishment projects for social landlords and local authorities and has also completed successful education, health, commercial and industrial developments.

4.  When did you first hear about a Vendor Initiated Management Buyout (VIMBO)? Did you know what it was?

I knew what I wanted to do but did not know it was called a VIMBO until I first discussed it with my accountants Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) Swansea. I have been planning and discussing a VIMBO with my accountants for many years.

5.  Why did you want sell your company via a VIMBO?

I have spent a lot of time over the last 20 years building my business and wished to spend more time with my family and taking the opportunity to travel. I also wanted to ensure the best future for the company and the employees who have helped me create a successful business. The VIMBO deal allowed me to pass on management of Jistcourt to these employees and my two children and retain a base for the company in Baglan.

6.  How did the Finance Wales investment help the deal?

Alun Thomas and Stephen Galvin and the team at Finance Wales supported the management buyout of the company with a £1.1 million investment. The process was smooth and ensured that the keys of the company went to friendly and knowledgeable hands.

7.  How did it feel letting go of the reigns a bit as you transferred your company over to new management?

Initially it felt very strange allowing others to be at the forefront of making strategic and managerial decisions without me – but the new team are doing a great job and I’ve been able to spend more time with my family and traveling as a consequence of the deal.

8.  What did you not expect about the VIMBO deal?

Two things really –

I didn’t expect it to run as smoothly as it did, but the time and effort put in up front certainly paid off in the long term.

I also didn’t expect it to feel so strange in taking a back seat – it’s been quite difficult to deal with a feeling of losing day to day control – but at the same time quite refreshing. It’s interesting to see how people implement their own strategies. I also have a lot more free time now!

9.  What one piece of advice would you give to business owners considering selling their companies?

Think about your exit strategy early. You may not be looking to retire or move on for five, ten years – but the sooner you have a plan in place the smoother the transition is.