B&M buys Opus to expand UK coverage

Barclays Corporate has provided a £40m loan for Blackpool-based B&M Retail to buy Opus Homewares.

B&M Retail, trading as B&M Bargains, has acquired 36 stores with many of them in Scotland in Northern Ireland, new areas for B&M. The retailer sells a variety of goods from food and toiletries through to houseware, toys and seasonal items such as garden furniture.

Led by brothers Simon and Bobby Arora, B&M has grown from 21 stores in 2005 to 200 today. The company opened on average one new store a week in 2009 and has continued to expand in 2010. They are currently fitting out a new 625,000 sq ft head office and distribution centre in Speke, South Liverpool. The new base is due to open later this year.

The Aroras acquired the company from private equity firm Phildrew Ventures in 2005, at which time the company had an annual turnover of £65m. In 2009, turnover surpassed £400m with pre-tax profits rising 147% on 2008.

Simon Arora said: "This acquisition is strategically important to us and allows us to expand the business into new parts of the UK such as Scotland and Northern Ireland. Our growth would not have been possible without the support Barclays Corporate has given us through this exciting period."

Jane Khaliq, relationship director for retail and wholesale at Barclays Corporate in Manchester, said: "The B&M business has proven resilient through the cycle and this is testament to their business model and the quality of the management team. This acquisition represents an exciting phase for B & M and as their Relationship Director I'm delighted we have been able to support them over the last two years during the company's period of significant growth. This is a great example of how Barclays are bringing together the various parts of the businesses to support our client's interests and our strong appetite to provide funding to quality businesses in the region."

The deal was arranged by Barclays Corporate in Manchester and led by Jane Khaliq, Glenn Clarke, head of debt finance North West and Oliver Reece, associate director of debt finance. Barclays were advised by Pinsent Masons Solicitors.

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