Robert Lee Distribution sold to investment group

Bathroom and plumbing distributor Robert Lee Distribution has been sold to investment company HLD Group.

The deal officially completed on January 18, and as a result, long-standing managing director of Robert Lee, Matt Earle, will be departing the business. However, he will remain with Robert Lee in the short-term to help facilitate a smooth handover.

He will be succeeded as managing director by Kim Kirby-Earnshaw, who was recently appointed as the company’s commercial director. Kirby-Earnshaw has more than 30 years of experience within the industry and the company said she will be able to ensure that Robert Lee Distribution’s business momentum will continue.

According to the distributor, despite having numerous offers involving the sale of the business in the past, the company has “failed to identify a partner with the right interests and strategy” until now.

Robert Lee Distribution says that the decision will allow the business to continue to grow and develop under its new owners, as well as further meet its business goals. The company explained that its new owners share the same views on “vision and culture”, which helped to seal the deal.

HLD Group is a UK-based industrial investment group with business interests in the UK, USA and Europe. It concentrates on industrial businesses within the manufacturing, engineering and materials distribution sector. Some of the other companies in its portfolio include Marble Building Products and flooring company Storplan.

Robert Lee has assured its customers that its usual levels of service will remain unaffected by the sale, and that its customers can expect the business’ “long-standing business principles and practices to continue”.

Former MD Earle commented that the change of ownership marks “an exciting new chapter for Robert Lee Distribution”, adding: “the investment will allow the business to further strive, offer improved services, and build stronger, long-term customer relationships”.

Similarly, Kirby-Earnshaw said that the sale will allow the distribution company to “experience significant growth” as well as “take advantage of HLD Group’s derived opportunities”.

During the Covid pandemic, Robert Lee Distribution opened an ‘essential services’ order system despite having to temporarily close its main delivery network.

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