Ascona Group wins Award at Dealmaker of the Year Awards 2021

September 10, 2021
David Lamb

Ascona Group has won Acquirer of the Year at the Insider’s Wales Dealmakers Awards 2021 event, held last night at Cardiff's Mercure Holland House Hotel and compered by comedian, writer and actor Hal Cruttenden, celebrated the top acquisitions, buyouts and funding deals in the year, and the people that made them happen. Headline sponsor of the evening was Fairstone Group, while the awards were also sponsored by Acuity Legal, Azets, Development Bank of Wales, Lexington Corporate Finance and Shawbrook Bank.

The full results were :-

Emerging Dealmaker of the Year

Sponsored by: Shawbrook Bank

Winner: Thomas Edwards, Lexington Corporate Finance

Thomas Edwards joined Lexington in 2017, and has wasted no time in getting stuck into deals work. He acted as lead adviser on the sale of Montana Healthcare, the sale of Insite Technical Services, and the sale of CashCalc.

Shortlisted

Sam Forman, Gambit Corporate Finance

Arushi Jolly, Verde Corporate Finance

Ashley Rogers, Deloitte

David Morgan, Barclays

Rafael Joseph, Development Bank of Wales

Corporate Acquirer of the Year

Sponsored by: Acuity Law

Winner: Ascona Group

Ascona, which runs petrol stations, grew its portfolio from 37 sites to 59 during the year via a series of acquisitions of independently owned forecourts across the UK. The Pembrokeshire company's expansion has been "a phenomenal success story", said one judge.

Shortlisted

Brickability Group

Veezu

GS Verde Group

Funder of the Year

Sponsored by: Azets

Winner: HSBC UK

HSBC funded an acquisition by Brickability Group, working capital for BBI Holdings, and the refinancing of GTS Flexible Materials backed by Growth Capital Partners. It launched a series of innovative products and lent £1bn to small and medium sized businesses in a year.

Shortlisted

Barclays Bank

Development Bank of Wales

Small Business Deal of the Year

Winner: Sale of CashCalc to FE fundinfo (advised on by Lexington Corporate Finance, Harrison Clark Rickerbys, Deloitte, Burness Paul)

CashCalc, a cashflow planning provider based in Newport, was acquired by FE fundinfo, a global fund data and technology company. The deal was completed in eight weeks and is expected to provide expertise and resources to fuel CashCalc's growth.

Shortlisted

Acquisition of SG Bailey (Paints) by Rabart Decorators Merchants (advised on by Azets, WSP Solicitors, Griffiths Marshall, Ince Solicitors; backed by Barclays Bank)

Divestment of BBI Healthcare from BBI Group to Venture Life Group (advised on by Deloitte, PwC, Allen & Overy, JP Morgan)

Investment in Healthcare Evaluation Associates, trading as Pharmatelligence (backed by Cardiff Capital Region, advised on by Acuity Law, Pinsent Masons)

Transfer of Paramount Interiors to an employee ownership trust (advised on by Greenaway Scott, Verde Corporate Finance, UHY, Dragonfly Marketing)

Sale of Glamorgan Telecom to Onecom (advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Capital Law; backed by LDC and Ares Management)

Alternative Finance Provider of the Year

Winner: Propel Finance

Propel Finance, based in Newport, is one of the UK's biggest independent business asset finance providers. It funded businesses across Wales through the pandemic, invested in technology, and launched a partnership with Azets to reach new customers.

Shortlisted

Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending

Lombard Asset Finance

International Deal of the Year

Sponsored by: Fairstone Group

Winner: Acquisition of Albyn Medical by Creo Medical (advised on by Osborne Clarke, BDO, Cenkos, Walbrook PR and AON)

Creo Medical acquired Albyn Medical, which is based in Spain, giving the Newport business a direct sales presence in key European markets to facilitate the roll-out of its advanced energy devices and to strengthen its commercial team.

Highly commended: Sale of Premier Forest ROI to Murdock Builders Merchants (advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Acuity Law, Flynn O’Driscoll, KPMG, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Eugene F Collins)

Shortlisted

Sale of Abergavenny Fine Foods Group to Frostkrone Food Group (advised on by Greenaway Scott, Hollis Gore, Kilsby Williams, Brodies, PwC, GLN)

Sale of Heathpak to Solidus Solutions (advised on by Acuity Law, Gambit Corporate Finance, Freeths, KPMG)

Sale of MYHSM by Licentia to Utimaco IS (advised on by Acuity Law, Orrick)

Sale of Pump Supplies to Lakers Group (advised on by Watersheds, Thrings, Grant Thornton, Pinsent Masons, Swedbank, Summa Equity)

Corporate Finance Advisory Team of the Year

Winner: Lexington Corporate Finance

Lexington experienced a record year, doubling its headline fee income, and grew its team from six to 11 employees. The firm advised shareholders of CashCalc on the sale of the business to FE FundInfo, and recruited Nigel Griffiths as commercial director.

Shortlisted

Deloitte

Verde Corporate Finance

Azets

Gambit Corporate Finance

PwC

Private Equity/Venture Capital Deal of the Year

Sponsored by: Development Bank of Wales

Winner: Investment in Kagool, backed by BGF (advised on by Geldards, WY Partners, O'Brien & Partners, Blake Morgan, Cowgills)

BGF invested £6m in Kagool, a digital agency based in Cardiff, to support its organic and acquisitive growth strategy. The deal supported the founder’s aims, incentivised the management team, unlocked growth potential, and ensured that BGF remained a minority partner.

Shortlisted

Investment in GTS Flexible Materials, backed by Growth Capital Partners (advised on by Grant Thornton, Capital Law, Osborne Clarke, RSM, PwC)

Sale of Frontier Medical Group from Kester Capital to Agilitas Private Equity (advised on by Deloitte, Travers Smith, Arrowpoint Advisory, Grant Thornton, LEK)

Investment in Bond Digital Health, backed by Wealth Club and Development Bank of Wales (advised on by Acuity Law, Barford Owen Davies, Bevan Buckland, Geldards)

Investment in Veezu, backed by MML Capital Partners, Tosca Debt Capital and Santander (advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons,Grant Thornton, Charles Bates, DataSparQ, Leading Resolutions, Fluent Interactions, Burges Salmon, DLA)

Management buyout of Just Love Food, backed by the Development Bank of Wales, George Adams, Chris Smith and Tom Carroll (advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Berry Smith, Graham Paul, Blake Morgan)

Corporate Law Firm of the Year

Sponsored by: Lexington Corporate Finance

Winner: Acuity Law

Acuity Law advised on more than 70 transactions with a total deal value of more than £500m. It advised on the sale of Premier Forest ROI, the £15m management buy-in and investment in Learna and the sale of Heathpak.

Shortlisted

Berry Smith

Greenaway Scott

Harrison Clark Rickerbys

Deal of the Year

Winner:  Sale of BBI Holdings from Exponent to Novo Holdings (advised on by PwC, JP Morgan, Allen & Overy)

Novo Holdings acquired diagnostics and life sciences group BBI Group from Exponent for £400m. The deal highlighted the reputation of Wales as a location in which to build strong life sciences and pharmaceutical businesses.

Shortlisted

Sale of Abergavenny Fine Foods Group to Frostkrone Food Group (advised on by Greenaway Scott, Hollis Gore, Kilsby Williams, Brodies, PwC, GLN)

Sale of Premier Forest ROI to Murdock Builders Merchants (advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Acuity Law, Flynn O’Driscoll, KPMG, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Eugene F Collins)

Investment in GTS Flexible Materials (backed by Growth Capital Partners; advised on by Grant Thornton, Capital Law, Osborne Clarke, RSM, PWC)

Sale of Frontier Medical Group from Kester Capital to Agilitas Private Equity (advised on by Deloitte, Travers Smith, Arrowpoint Advisory, Grant Thornton, LEK)

Veezu funding (backed by MML Capital Partners, Tosca Debt Capital and Santander and advised on by Gambit Corporate Finance, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons,Grant Thornton, Charles Bates, DataSparQ, Leading Resolutions, Fluent Interactions, Burges Salmon, DLA)

Dealmaker of the Year

Winner: Geraint Rowe, Gambit Corporate Finance

Geraint Rowe retains Dealmaker of the Year status after a year in which he advised on an investment in Veezu, the sale of Glamorgan Telecom to Onecom, and the sale of Premier Forest Group's Irish business.

Highly commended: Katherine Broadhurst, Azets

Shortlisted:

Beverley Jones, Acuity Law

Craig Blackmore, Verde Corporate Finance

Geraint McGrath, Deloitte

Jason Evans, Gambit Corporate Finance

Fairstone Group

Fairstone is a full-service wealth management house delivering integration-led growth to emerge as a new leader in the UK regulatory landscape.

Link to original announcement - HERE

David Lamb

35 years experience in retail management, marketing, I.T and design

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In an ever-changing retail world, Ascona Group aims to bring right-on-time convenience, service and quality to motorists and communities. Forecourts have a new champion.