Victorian Plumbing snaps up arch rival in shock move

Mark Radcliffe, founder and CEO of Victorian Plumbing
Mark Radcliffe, founder and CEO of Victorian Plumbing

Online bathroom giant Victorian Plumbing has bought arch rival Victoria Plum in a snap move just eight months after it was bought out of administration by another firm.

In a statement to investors, it has just confirmed that it has bought AHK Designs Ltd, the company that bought Victoria Plum in September for £22.5m, half of Victoria Plum’s estimated annual revenue. This sum “reflects the significant strategic value to the Company of the Victoria Plum brand and its associated intellectual property.”

It says it that given that there is a cost reduction programme already in place following the administration, it intends to continue trading normal and expects Victoria Plum to broadly break even in the second half of 2024.

More information on future plans is expected with Victorian Plumbing’s interim  results on May 28. 

Mark Radcliffe (pictured), CEO of Victorian Plumbing, said:  “I am delighted to announce the acquisition of Victoria Plum, a well-established brand with a solid base of customers, suppliers and product ranges. The acquisition aligns with our ambitions to accelerate our growth. We are pleased to welcome the existing Victoria Plum team to our group and look forward to continuing to provide customers with a fantastic range of bathroom products and accessories.

“This acquisition represents another exciting strategic milestone for the company and, together with the investment in our new distribution centre, provides a unique opportunity to deliver increased shareholder return.”

This acquisition ends a long running rivalry between the two similarly-named companies. At the time of the AHK purchase, Radcliffe expressed “huge concern for customers and suppliers”, and in 2018 Victoria Plum received £1.75 million from Victorian Plumbing after winning a court battle over trademark infringement relating to online advertising and search.

At the time of the September sale, administrator Ernst & Young revealed that AHK Designs, paid £7.8m in a pre-pack deal.

However, that sale left behind debts of £24.3m. Victoria Plum customers were owed £2.25m with just under £222,000 in unpaid refunds, £665,000 in unfulfilled trade orders and £1.36m in unfulfilled design and installation orders.

Now, for the six months up to March 31, unaudited management accounts indicate that Victoria Plum had book value gross assets of £15.8m and losses of £3.3m.

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