Business buyout made possible through Gateway to Finance
Chris Baker is the proud owner of a 125 year old Newham based estate agents and surveyors McDowalls. Last year, however, his dream of owning the company he had worked for over a decade almost failed.
35 -year-old Chris’ story began when the agency’s senior partner decided to retire and Chris negotiated a deal to buy him out. Soon after the two agreed on the terms, the buyout came to a halt as the company’s bank refused to secure the existing overdraft facility against Chris.
Chris says: “I could not understand why the bank was being difficult. I had worked for the company for so long, knew the business inside out and I was ready to put my house as security.”
After almost a year of failed negotiations with the bank, he was finally referred to East London Small Business Centre in October 2010 to take part in the Gateway to Finance programme to explore how to finance the buyout.
Chris says: “For over a year I was going back and forth with the bank and was not making any progress at all. Then I came to see an ELSBC business counsellor who introduced me to a bank relationship manager at another bank, and within an hour of the first meeting with the new relationship manager I was offered everything I needed to finalise the buyout.”
Although the new bank agreed to take over all of Chris’ company finance including securing the overdraft facility, his business advisor worked with him in preparing his proposal and revising his financials to ensure the transition was smooth and least disruptive to the McDowalls’ daily operation. Additionally Chris was supported in changing the legal status of the company from a partnership to a limited company – making him the sole owner.
McDowalls’ income derives from lettings, property management and property sales & surveying, employs 11 full and part-time staff and Chris is positive about the times ahead. He is already working hard on expanding his property portfolio and working on becoming a fully qualified surveyor.
“The support and advice I have received from East London Small Business Centre was fantastic and saved me time and money I would have spent on consultants and lawyers in buying out the senior partner.”