ashfield mill group

John Spencer and Ian Mankin secure future following MBO

Fabrics specialists John Spencer (Textiles) Ltd and Ian Mankin Ltd have undergone a management buyout (MBO) and are now part of the newly formed Ashfield Mill Group.

The two businesses have been acquired through an MBO by Simon Blackley, a current Managing Director who has been with the businesses since 2009, from 6th generation owners and majority shareholders, David and Megan Collinge.

John Spencer (Textiles) Ltd was incorporated in 1971 but has a rich history of weaving in Lancashire that dates back over 150 years. We weave finished products for a number of industries from home furnishings to filtration and components. The Ian Mankin brand was acquired in 2010, when the then owner of the business, and its namesake, was ready to retire. Already weaving with John Spencer, and a keen proponent of British manufacture, it made sense for Ian to sell the business to his weaving mill.

The sale has been the result of 12 months of planning and is supported by HSBC bank, PM+M accountants, Napthens and Taylors solicitors. In a positive move, this MBO means that the whole of the workforce has been retained and we will continue to operate from our existing Burnley and London premises.

Both John Spencer Textiles and Ian Mankin will continue to be led by the existing senior management team and David Collinge will continue on in his current role.

Exiting co-owner, David Collinge, said: “I took over the running of the business from my father when he retired in 1992 and since then, have had wonderful support from a highly skilled and dedicated team without whom our success would not have been possible. The buyout represents the next chapter for some exciting developments and I have no doubt that under Simon’s leadership the businesses will continue to do amazing things.”

The newly formed Ashfield Mill Group headed by Simon Blackley is committed to building on the relationships created over the past 150 years with customers and suppliers and will continue to trade on the same terms as before.

Simon Blackley commented on the acquisition: “I have inherited a fantastic business, with an impressive 150 year history! As the new owner I’m committed to ensuring that the legacy created by David, Megan and their family is not lost to faceless investment. I wanted to be there to ensure continuity of the business, not just for our customers but for our staff and David too.

“This MBO will build on the success of 6 generations of weaving, the strong standing of both companies and their enviable position in weaving and fabric retail is testament to the dedication and commitment of David and Megan. With an incredibly talented team and a loyal customer base, I’m looking forward to steering both into the future.

“For me it is very much business as usual, the John Spencer side has some fantastic customers and, with David still very much in the business, I have no plans for huge change. My intention is to build on the strength of our weaving knowledge, continuing to encourage a new generation of weavers in Burnley and the local region, whilst also pushing the boundaries of skill and knowledge within the existing, capable team. In turn this will help to build relationships with existing customers and to further strengthen the fantastic reputation this company holds.

“We are a small but ambitious team. David, the team and I have built up a wonderful network of customers and distributors both in the UK and internationally, but there is still more we can do. I intend to build on this tried and tested blueprint to extend our reach into new markets.

“The reputation of Ian Mankin fabrics has always been around quality and value. Keeping both businesses within the same group means that there are no changes to the supply chain or provenance and our customers can expect that same attention to detail and great service as they always have with a friendly hello at the end of the phone line.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to seeing what this next chapter brings. It promises to be an exciting and immensely rewarding journey for me, our staff, our suppliers and customers alike.”

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