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Established in 1809, Denby manufactures high quality stoneware from its Derbyshire factory, where it also welcomes 250,000 visitors a year to the Denby Visitor Centre. Having been acquired in a traditional private equity transaction several years prior to Hilco’s involvement, Denby became overleveraged with a £72 million historic debt burden, a substantially underfunded final salary pension scheme and a high fixed cost base.

BDO and Clearwater had been seeking a purchaser for the business since July 2008 and, with the lender group unwilling to advance further funds, were carrying out contingency planning for an administration.

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Hilco Capital’s role

  • Backed £30m MBO in February 2009
  • Provided finance and working capital to stabilise the business while restructuring plan developed
  • Senior Hilco team took roles on Denby’s board
  • Wider Hilco team provided support in areas including IT, HR and store operations
  • Led full review of brand architecture and guided brand extension and partnership strategies
  • Hilco Property renegotiated leases, relocated warehouse and managed rapid expansion of outlet store portfolio
  • Financed acquisition of other heritage pottery companies
  • Recruited new, highly experienced MD to grow the business internationally


  • Secured 600 jobs and the future of a historic British manufacturing business
  • 100 additional jobs created to date
  • Doubled the number of outlet stores to 28 within 18 months, increasing retail turnover by 75%
  • Enduring partnership with fashion & home brand Monsoon launched in October 2009
  • Successful cookware and cutlery ranges launched
  • Acquired Burleigh, Poole Pottery & Hartley Greens
  • Substantial expansion in South Korea
  • Business returned to profitability
  • Won Insolvency & Rescue Awards 2009 ‘Business Rescue of the Year’
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