Ansor News & Insights
Portfolio News: Casterbridge Dental joins ALS
Casterbridge Dental has joined forces with Leca Dental Laboratory, Ashford Orthodontics and Dental Technique as part of Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions (ALS), an Ansor portfolio company. Established by David Bentley in 1991 and based in Poundbury, Casterbridge is a full service, DAMAS accredited dental laboratory. David continues to oversee the day to day running of the business as part of the wider ALS group. ALS is in the process of adding further partner laboratories into the group, with the goal of building ALS into the UK’s leading dental laboratory business.
Portfolio News: Dental Technique joins ALS
Dental Technique Laboratory has joined forces with Leca Dental Laboratory and Ashford Orthodontics as part of Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions (ALS), an Ansor portfolio company. Dental Technique is a full service, DAMAS accredited laboratory. The company was founded by Charlie and Jane Gallagher in 1989 and is based in Perth, Scotland. Charlie continues to oversee the day to day running of the business as part of the wider ALS group. ALS is in the process of adding further partner laboratories into the group, with the goal of building ALS into the UK’s leading dental laboratory business.
Portfolio News: Ashford Orthodontics joins ALS
Ashford Orthodontics has joined forces with Leca Dental Laboratory as part of Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions (ALS), an Ansor portfolio company. Founded in 2005 and based in Sunderland, Ashford has been growing rapidly over recent years and in 2018 became the UK’s largest orthodontic laboratory. With investment from ALS, Ashford expects to accelerate its growth over the coming years. Ashford’s founding team of Sean Thompson, Craig Stevens and Graeme Winyard will continue to lead the business through this exciting next phase of Ashford’s development. ALS is in the process of adding further partner laboratories into the group, with the goal of building ALS into the UK’s leading dental laboratory business.
Portfolio News: Flying Butler Apartments - Profit with a Purpose
Here at Flying Butler Apartments, we’re firm believers that business has an increasingly important role to play in creating a positive social impact in the world. We’re dedicated to becoming a more socially and environmentally conscious company in everything that we do. We were delighted to be shortlisted for the Profit with Purpose award at this year's Serviced Apartment Awards. This special award was for companies who are embedding social and environmental values in their core business model - an ethos which is very important to us. Here are some of the initiatives we’ve been undertaking recently…
Our drive towards eco
Working with Enhabit, the UK’s award-winning provider of energy efficient houses, we built our apartment blocks in Richmond and Farnborough in recent years – buildings with low energy design yet comfortable and controllable living spaces. Since then we have been looking at Flying Butler's impact on the planet in all aspects of our business.
We have addressed our carbon footprint as a business by bringing our maintenance and housekeeping teams in-house; we have been able to manage the operational side of the business to reduce travel times between apartments.
Flying Butler has bought its first electric car to help plan operations and is committed to purchasing more as the business requires them.
We are looking at how to make our apartments eco-friendlier by rolling out eco products across our apartment network (a big undertaking but we’re pretty much there now!). Our cleaners are being supplied with environmentally friendly cleaning products and we’re providing our guests with bamboo paper products. Within the kitchens we are supplying products such as recycled bin bags, and eco washing-up liquid and dishwasher tabs.
To help our guests understand our drive, we are rolling out eco-tags hooked on door handles in all our apartments to explain Flying Butler's commitment to being an eco-conscious company. We encourage our guests to make green choices – using water responsibly, switching off electrical devices and lights when they are not in the apartment for instance.
As a brand, we are committed to only working with like-minded, socially conscious companies. For example, last year we entered a partnership with Abel & Cole to offer a discount to our guests to supply them with a grocery delivery service.
Last year, Flying Butler Apartments celebrated its 20th year within the serviced apartment industry.
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations, we wanted to give something back to our community and decided to partner with the amazing charity Centrepoint, which provides homeless young people with accommodation, health support and life skills to get them back into education, training and employment. We provide occasional accommodation for Centrepoint staff when needed, who are sometimes required to travel to support their services across the country. The financial saving is then being used to directly support young people.
Where possible with good quality second-hand apartment inventory we send any extras as a 'starter pack' to Centrepoint, to be given when housing homeless people in their first apartment.
We also organise fundraising events for Centrepoint throughout the year such as bake sales and we promote the charity when holding corporate events.
As part of our branding to offer 'home comforts' to our guests we are always looking to make their stay as comfortable as possible. Times are increasingly difficult right now with the current Covid-19 crisis, but local communities will be valued more than ever once these challenging times are behind us.
Through our new website 'look and feel' we launched last year, we added a 'things to do' section to all of our property pages, which informs our guests of local bars and restaurants and interesting things to do to help our guest feel part of the community.
As part of this year’s strategy we are also trying to cement local community partnerships to add value to guest stays such as discounts at local restaurants, bars and gyms.
Evidence of diversity and inclusion in recruitment and operations
At Flying Butler Apartments, we take pride in the way we recruit and our recruiting process is simple. We seek to employ talented individuals based on their skills and experience relevant to the vacancy we need to recruit.
Our team is made up of around 70% female and 30% male employees across nine departments. As a hospitality business, we welcome varied cultures and diversity as we work with international guests and understand the importance and benefits of a multi-national team.
Two years ago, we made the decision to bring our housekeeping teams in-house, rather than outsourcing this leg of the business to an agency provider. This created more job opportunities directly with Flying Butler and enabled us to build a strong and inclusive team who we could work with and closely develop into brand ambassadors for the business.
Portfolio news: EBS acquires Green Building Store
Two leading companies in the field of low energy building have announced that they have merged, bringing together low energy consultancy and high performance products under one roof. By joining forces Enhabit and Green Building Store aim to offer their clients the benefits of the whole house approach, to provide better performing buildings from a comfort, cost and carbon perspective. Working together will give them a greater capacity to support their clients with advice, design and specialist products on their journey to low energy and Passivhaus buildings.
The merger between Yorkshire-based product supplier Green Building Store and London-based firm Enhabit will result in a wider range of products, consultancy services and geographical spread offered by the combined group. High performance products on offer include everything from renewables to triple glazed windows, while consultancy services include in-depth design briefs, low energy design and commissioning to build project management. The wider geographic spread will enable the group to offer their specialist products, knowledge and experience to a wider range of clients, delivering their joint aim of improving building performance and reducing carbon emissions.
Enhabit and Green Building Store will continue under their own names and the existing teams in Huddersfield, the Midlands, Norwich and London remain in place with the addition of John Taylor, who has a background in building services engineering and low carbon buildings, as Managing Director.
Bill Butcher from Green Building Store said: “Green Building Store and Enhabit have a huge amount in common and we’re delighted with the merger. Green Building Store is a product supplier that had started offering consultancy, while Enhabit is a consultancy that started supplying products. Both companies are passionate about radically improving the performance of the UK’s building stock to help address the climate emergency, are technically-driven and have a strong ethos of customer service“.
Akta Raja from Enhabit said: “Given the urgency of reducing carbon emissions from buildings, we want every build, renovation or redecoration to take the opportunity to improve performance. We know that the whole house approach works. We are committed to helping clients on their low energy building journey, delivering their aims of improving building performance in terms of comfort, cost and carbon”.
Chris Herring from Green Building Store said: “It is great to combine efforts to get people thinking about their buildings holistically and from a performance perspective. We are responding to strong customer demand for an end to end service to create comfortable, low energy homes”.
Green Building Store, based in West Yorkshire, has been supplying products, such as triple glazed timber windows and MVHR ventilation, for over 25 years and has been at the forefront of introducing products for low energy and Passivhaus buildings into the UK. Green Building Store’s construction arm built the Denby Dale Passivhaus, one of the first Passivhaus projects in the UK, and its Cre8 Barn project was the winner of the UK Passivhaus Awards 2015 ‘Retrofit Project’ category.
Enhabit was established in 2010 and designed and delivered the UK’s first Passivhaus retrofit projects at Lena Gardens and Princedale Road, with the Lena Gardens project winning the 2013 CIBSE Energy Efficiency Project of the Year. Enhabit’s ‘Sustainable Salons’ project with L’Oreal was awarded the Business Green Energy Efficiency Project of the Year Award in 2015. Enhabit recently project-managed and provided the timber frame and M&E services for the healthy house project in Richmond, featured on Grand Designs.
Portfolio News: ALS acquires Leca Dental Laboratory
Ansor portfolio company Amalgamated Laboratory Solutions (ALS) has acquired Leca Dental Laboratory (Leca). Based in Scotland, Leca is a full-service laboratory producing implants, prosthetic dentures, crown and bridge, chrome cobalt and orthodontic products. The company was established in 2002 and has developed an excellent reputation with over 600 active clients, some of whom have been with the business for over 10 years. Leca holds a strong place in the sector twice winning Dental Laboratory of the Year. Nick and Martin Leca will continue to lead the business through its next phase of growth as part of ALS.
Portfolio News: Enhabit designed family centre achieves Passivhaus certification
Ansor portfolio company, Enhabit, has achieved full Passivhaus certification for The Linden Lodge Family Centre, part of the Linden Lodge School which specialises in the education of pupils with visual impairment and multi sensory impairment.
A SIP (structurally insulated panel) construction was used to provide continuous insulation alongside the beam & block floor and carefully wrapped steel frame roof, while high performance triple glazing makes for a bright and comfortable learning environment without compromising thermal performance.
One of the most important aspects of the project is the exceptionally high level of airtightness achieved. Robust design and attention to detail resulted in a fabric air permeability of just 0.33 m3/m2.hr at 50 Pa, an achievement put into perspective when compared to the Building Regulation air permeability requirement of 7 m3/m2.hr. Three mechanical ventilation with heat recovery units complement the airtight construction, providing a constant flow of fresh and filtered air to all areas of the building, and preventing the build-up of CO2 and other pollutants.
Portfolio News: 4C's Insight-As-A-Service takes off with multiple client wins
Ansor portfolio company 4C has announced that multiple new clients have signed up to its recently formed Insight-As-A-Service line of business, including two leading banks, a major UK high street retailer and a PE group with $70Bn of assets under management.
The new platform combines 4C’s knowledge of procurement and subject matter expertise with cutting-edge data analytics technology. A light touch integration process ensures businesses can quickly collate, visualise and action insights. 4C’s deep understanding of procurement and its nimble approach to deployment is encouraging clients to sign up to the platform to gain greater insights into their spend and to identify opportunities to manage cost more effectively.
The Insight-As-A-Service business line positions 4C at the forefront of the new wave of procurement technologies and enables 4C to meet the emerging needs of clients as they implement their digital procurement strategies.
Ansor Insights: Equity not debt underpins successful small business growth
Historically, governments have focussed on lending solutions to encourage small businesses to grow and to plug what is known as the Macmillan gap.
At Ansor, we look at things slightly differently.
Having worked extensively with entrepreneurs across our core sectors and having discussed these types of key decisions with them, we know they are reluctant to add the risk that debt entails - both personally and to their businesses.
Debt has the tendency to replace the strong foundations and balance sheets with uncertainty. Yes, with the additional risk comes potentially higher returns, however, this return is based on these same founders having the expertise, networks and teams to allocate this additional capital effectively and to succeed in a new high growth environment.
Ansor's equity solution allows hand-picked entrepreneurs to deliver higher levels of growth by providing investment with the right level of risk, incentivising success and supporting the management of the business by sharing sector expertise, streamlining systems and processes, building teams and delivering scale through bolt-on acquisitions.
The result allows Ansor to provide a solution that actually encourages growth and delivers entrepreneurial returns.
Portfolio News: Ansor Environment accelerates growth with new client wins
Ansor portfolio company, Ansor Environment (AE, part of Ansor's Smart Building Systems platform) has recently announced major client wins with Aldi and Metalcraft. These new customers build on other recent wins in AE’s core sectors of fitness, care, education and heritage. As a result, the company is on course for a record-breaking year, completing more than 500 projects, moving to a larger base in Saffron Walden and expanding its head office team. In addition, the company is expanding its sub-contractor network to provide national coverage.
Ansor Insights: 9 Hours on Growth
According to a survey by The Federation of Small Businesses, company owners are on average only getting 9 hours a month to spend on growing their businesses, with the remaining time being spent on admin tasks.
One of Ansor's core principles is the intelligent deployment of technology into its portfolio companies. Large efficiency gains can be made through well implemented back-office systems, allowing our business leaders to stick to the principle of "Nothing Interesting Happens in the Office" and to get out there and grow their companies.
Portfolio News: Sarah Price joins Enhabit to head up the energy consultancy team
Dr. Sarah Price has joined Ansor portfolio company Enhabit. Sarah will lead Enhabit's team of energy consultants. She will focus on providing building physics and Passivhaus design to larger scale clients. Sarah is an experienced Passivhaus consultant and retrofit co-ordinator and has completed a RICS certificate in construction project management. She is focussed in the improvement in building performance. Her technical expertise includes thermal bridge analysis, energy modelling, moisture, MVHR and has a deep understanding of the relationship between different building performance standards in the UK from Building Regulations to Passivhaus.
Dr Sarah Price said “I am really excited to be leading Enhabit’s team of experienced designers. Their engineering design-led delivery approach increases the likelihood of achieving high levels of building performance, meaning healthy, comfortable buildings, that cost less to run whilst reducing the one-fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions that come from buildings."
Ansor Insights: SME - the fastest growing sector of the UK economy
Ansor analysis of ONS data shows that the UK's SME sectors have been growing faster than the large business sector (>250 employees). Turnover of UK SMEs grew 4.5% per year between 2013 and 2017 compared to 1.5% per year for non SMEs.
SMEs now account for £1.9 trillion in revenue equal to 51% of total UK company revenues. The sector is made up of 2.6m companies, compared to just 7,300 non SMEs and accounts for 16.1m jobs, equal to 60% of all private sector employment.
As a result, the SME sectors have grown from 38.4% of the UK economy in 2010 to 41.5% in 2017 and the large company sector has declined from 61.6% to 58.5% over the same period.
The focus of most investment capital over this period has been on the large company sector. Ansor, in contrast, is exclusively focused on the SME sector where we see the highest opportunities for growth and value creation.
Portfolio News: Enhabit team continues to grow with 3 senior hires
This month, Ansor portfolio company Enhabit will be joined by Andrew Fisher, Alex Honey and Michael Sollaris, formerly of Whole House Energy.
Andrew, Alex and Michael will be working under Enhabit’s brand to design and deliver low energy, high comfort buildings in the Norfolk, Suffolk, and surrounding areas. The team has extensive experience delivering Passivhaus buildings and helping clients to reduce their building energy consumption.
Andrew Fisher said “We believe that working with the Enhabit team will help us to achieve our aims of building high performance buildings across the region. We are pleased to be working with Enhabit to offer an expanded range of products and services to our existing client base who will now find it simpler to build high comfort, low energy buildings”