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01 April 2015

Former sales manager buys medical supplies firm in £1.4m deal

Press Release 1st April 2015

A Lancashire company which is one of the UK's largest suppliers of X-ray protection equipment has been acquired by its former sales manager in a £1.4m deal.

WS Rothband & Co, which is based in Haslingden, has been acquired by Paul Dixon with backing from Lancashire County Council's Rosebud Finance and Seneca Partners.

A subsequent loan from The North West Fund for Loans Plus, which is managed by FW Capital, will support the company's growth under the new ownership.

The deal will safeguard the jobs of the company's nine staff and allow the previous owners,
Michael and Lesley Todhunter, to retire. The new owner is planning to expand the business and create a further five jobs in the next three years.

Established in 1860 by WS Rothband, the company manufactures X-ray protection products for the healthcare and nuclear industries, including the lead aprons worn by radiographers. It also offers a range of physiotherapy equipment and digital imaging products.

The Todhunters have run the business since 1984 when they acquired it from the founder's son Jeffrey Rothband, who was Mrs Todhunter's uncle.

Paul Dixon, a former NHS radiographer, spent five years with Rothband as sales manager and product trainer. Since leaving in 2007, he has worked with larger medical device companies in a global marketing role.

Paul Taberner of Enterprise Ventures, which manages Rosebud Finance, said: "Paul Dixon has spent his career in the radiography sector and has an in-depth understanding of the market. He has identified a range of opportunities for growth. He is passionate about the business and is ideally placed to take it forward."

Andy Traynor, Senior Investment Executive at FW Capital made the loan to WS Rothband.  He said: "WS Rothband is an established business with a significant share of the UK market.    I'm delighted that the loan from The North West Fund for Loans Plus will provide  the company with the growth capital it needs to expand and we look forward to seeing it thrive under Paul's leadership."

Rosebud is a finance package supporting Lancashire firms to grow and expand their business. It is managed by Enterprise Ventures on behalf of Lancashire County Developments Ltd (LCDL) - the county council's economic development company.

County Councillor Niki Penney, chair of LCDL, said: "We're pleased that this niche manufacturing business has decided to stay in Lancashire, retaining its skilled workforce and within easy reach of world class university engineering facilities.

"We've invested in Rothband's future potential, which includes support for their research and development. With Rosebud's involvement they'll get a package of support to grow and expand their business."

For more information about Rosebud visit www.lancashire.gov.uk, and search for 'rosebud', email rosebud@lancashire.gov.uk or contact 01772 536 652.

The North West Fund for Loans Plus is part of The North West Fund, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank.


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