More than 60 jobs saved. 

Vale Brothers – home of Thermatex, Griffin NuuMed, Equimat, Jeffries and Harry Dabbs saddles – has a new owner.

The Walsall based company went into administration last Thursday (19 October) and was simultaneously acquired by JDS59 Ltd, part of the Baaj Capital group.

ETN understands that Peter Wilkes, Vales Brothers’ managing director since 1999, will continue to run the company which also has brands in the motorcycle and shoe component industries.

“We are open for orders,” said Peter. “We will continue to supply the trade as before.

“I’m anticipating a week of reorganisation, but production won’t stop at all and any orders in the system will be met.”

Yorkshire based investment group Baaj Capital bought internet retailer Equus out of administration on 20 September. 

British manufacturing

The acquisition of Vale Brothers looks likely to save around 63 jobs at the company, with the majority of production expected to remain in the UK.

“Nothing will change dramatically,” said Peter, “although the two [Davies Odell] Northampton manufacturing sites will close with production moved to Walsall.”

Vale Brothers merged with rubber matting and body armour specialist Davies Odell in 2020. 

Changing business models

There had been speculation that Peter Wilkes and his co-director Peter Cohen might acquire Vale Brothers. However, joining a group has proved the most attractive option.

“With Baaj, we will have shared resources across accounting, warehousing and IT,” said Peter. “Being part of a group will give a good business model going forward.”

It’s a concept he sees more equestrian businesses adopting in the future.

“In my opinion, the economy is not going to change significantly or get any better in the next three to five years,” he told ETN.

“Consequently, any business model going forward has to use today’s trading levels as its start point - and be able to survive and be profitable on that level.”