Swindon company organises laundry plant sale

By Anita Jaynes on 9 October, 2015

A Wiltshire firm of corporate finance specialists has arranged the sale of a pioneering laundry facility to a multinational company.

Watersheds organised a deal to sell the UK’s first steam free laundry plant created by White Knight in Reading to the Berendsen group.

The sale will enable the flagship site in Reading to grow and prosper under new international ownership and the remaining White Knight business, operating from Eastbourne, to continue to provide an exceptional laundry
service to domestic customers and small businesses.

White Knight Laundry Services has been owned by the Tomlins family for more than 100 years and has built up a reputation for high-quality services across the south of England.

The company invested heavily in state-of-the art equipment, with the technology allowing the business to combine efficient high-volume production and quality while dramatically reducing its impact on the environment.

With the new facility in operation, it became apparent that this type of high-volume laundry would be best suited to a much larger organisation with large, high-volume customers.

Berendsen UK Limited, based in Basingstoke, part of Berendsen PLC, the leading European textile services group with revenue in excess of £1 billion, was identified as an ideal acquirer.

Soon after the deal was outlined, White Knight’s Chairman Peter Tomlins suffered a health scare so the details had to be completed faster than usual.

Watersheds managed to complete the transaction – from agreeing terms and exclusivity to completion – within 10 weeks.

Jessica Painter, Partner at Watersheds, said: “When Peter was taken ill, it was an extremely difficult and worrying time for the family so I was pleased to be able to take as much of the pressure of the transaction off them as I could.

“Managing the process to ensure a timely completion was essential in order to cause the least disruption possible to both businesses and their staff. I am delighted with the outcome. It was a pleasure to work with Stephanie Perry and Sarah Lake at Pitmans, who provided legal advice in order to help make this happen.”

Peter Tomlins added: “For this particular sale, the added value of Watersheds lay in managing and collating all the data and disclosures required, acting as a posting stage to our solicitor, the buyers and the buyer’s solicitor, with whom they were in constant communication, all under difficult circumstances.”

Pictured above from left to right: White Knight’s Chairman Peter Tomlins with Jessica Painter, Partner at Watersheds