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Business-sales insight: manufacturing resurgent

Podcast interview with...

Rupert Cattell, Managing Director of Turner Butler and Amberglobe
Topics covered:
The increase, however, slow, in marketplace activity, how tough credit conditions are here to stay, the resurgence of manufacturing and engineering and the tough trading conditions on the high street
First became a director 15 years ago at the age of 41. His most recent non-secretarial directorship is with Turner Butler Limited.
Amberglobe specialise in the selling of care homes, day nurseries and retail businesses. Turner Butler specialise in selling all businesses on business parks and industrial estates.  

Rupert Cattell on the state of the business-sales marketplace overall...

"We are seeing a lot more activity as a result of the ever-increasing confidence that's being going on in the overall economy. It's a slow old game but it's certainly been building momentum.

"Each week we see more buyer enquiries and more activity on sale files. We're also seeing an increasing number of completions.

"We're also seeing a fairly slow process between acceptance and completion of the sale. Lawyers are taking a long time, banks are taking a long time. 

"That is slowing stuff down but despite all that, there is a train carriage effect, and more stuff is starting to come through to completed sales.

"Certainly I think the banks are definitely lending. They are not lending at anything like the pace of five years ago but they are lending.

"Some of the banks have completely shut up shop, but the major high street banks are lending to the business purchase market."

Even if a purchaser is gagging to do a deal, he's going to be held back by his bank and his advisers

On how austerity and parsimonious banks are the new normal...

"I think we're going to go back to what it was like in my childhood: people toiled away to make their money, but the get-rich-quick concept is probably going to be difficult to achieve.

"So I think there probably are fewer routes to exit in terms of being able to buy a business, build it up and sell it within a short space of time because I think the purchase to market is going to be much more prudent. 

"Even if a purchaser is gagging to do a deal, he's going to be held back by his bank and his advisers."

On which sectors are thriving and which are struggling...

"We are seeing a major shift towards manufacturing and engineering businesses, which have become very hot after being pretty much unsellable five years ago because everyone thought manufacturing was all going offshore to China - that is all shifting back again.

"What we're seeing now is manufacturing at the high-quality end in very strong demand. A lot of manufacturing businesses with a high level of value-add and expertise are actually doing extremely well.

"If you're running a traditional retail premises without any significant online presence it's extremely tough. I think in any sector other than food it's a real struggle - and I don't think that will change."

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