Finance Wales announces its largest investment this financial year in Viscose Closures

Businessman Gareth Rowlands has taken over as Managing Director of Swansea-based packaging manufacturer, Viscose Closures Limited (Viscose) thanks to a £5 million investment round. The round included a £2.3 million equity investment from Finance Wales, its largest this financial year, as well as angel investment from a group led by Philip Roberts.

Rowlands now heads up Viscose’s new management team following the retirement of its previous managing and finance directors. Viscose has successfully carved out its niche in the £5 billion food and drink packaging market, specialising in pilfer-proof and tamper-evident closures and promotional sleeves. More recently, it has built on its core product range to serve the alcoholic and soft drinks, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals packaging markets.

The company currently exports a third of its total production, with Europe and North America its main export markets. Plans are now afoot to diversify the company’s range of packaging solutions even further to attract new domestic and international blue-chip customers.

“For me, buying into Viscose was an unmissable opportunity as it’s a profitable, international business which has been trading for over 100 years. It has stayed ahead of the competition by adapting to the needs of its loyal customer base. The UK’s plastic packaging industry is globally respected, particularly in food and drink where there’s increasing demand for eco-friendly packaging,” explained Gareth Rowlands.

Rowlands joins the company with a wealth of management experience. This includes a successful stint at Europe’s largest specialist glass manufacturer, Schott Glass, first as UK Managing Director and then Divisional Chief Executive.

“The markets Viscose targets are expanding and we see great opportunities for us in future. Finance Wales is a flexible investor with a great deal of expertise. They understand how SMEs operate and this is going to be invaluable to us. They’ve already introduced us to our new Chairman, Keith Jordan, for instance,” Rowlands continued.

David Birch the Senior Investment Executive at Finance Wales who worked with Rowlands on the deal said: “Our investment opens up a new chapter for this well-established company. This was a complex equity deal and also our largest investment this year. It was important to structure the deal so that Gareth and the team have the capital they need to grow the company. Equity investment can often be the right choice for a high-growth business like Viscose as it can free up much-needed cash to underpin a strategic business plan. We’re also pleased to have introduced Keith Jordan as Chairman.”

Commenting on his new role, Keith Jordan said: “I hope with my manufacturing background and previous experience of leading private-equity backed MBIs that I will be able to provide valuable support to the executive team at Viscose. I am very much looking forward to working with them.”

Valued at over £3 billion, the UK’s plastic packaging market is set to grow by an estimated 3% as more sustainable, lower-cost production methods are developed.

Finance Wales was advised by Price Waterhouse Coopers (financial due diligence and tax), Santis (commercial due diligence), The Quinn Partnership (management due diligence) and Geldards LLP (legal).