In March 2018 Connection Capital completed a £5.9m investment in laboratory equipment manufacturer HEL. The transaction enabled the founders to realise a capital gain from their shareholding and step back from full-time management. It also provided them with a partner to help grow the company to the next level by expanding its product range and increasing its international reach.
HEL’s mission is to work together with chemistry, safety and biotechnology experts to engineer and unleash the full potential of the scientific community. The company develops and manufactures innovative scientific instruments and software designed to optimize the efficiency, safety and productivity of key processes in chemistry and biology laboratory applications.
HEL has a track record of delivering advanced, high-quality products to a broad base of blue-chip companies and institutions in growing global markets with high barriers to entry.
There were clear opportunities to enhance HEL's presence in the expanding Asian and US markets as well as developing further into the fast growing biochemical sector.
The company was well-positioned to benefit from operational improvements to improve customer service and ultimately profitability.
Progress since investment
Connection Capital has supported HEL in the development and implementation of a focused business plan to deliver value growth.
This has included several key new hires in the senior management team, comprising a new CEO, CFO and Commercial Director. We also introduced a non-executive Chairman. The additions have enhanced the strength and capability of the management team.
To capitalise on the international growth opportunities, a wholly owned subsidiary in China was established with a new general manager introduced in the country. In the US, a new head of business operations was brought on board. Both these hires have transformed these key international sales channels.
Operational improvements have been rolled out, which include the implementation of an end-to-end ERP system to help drive sales and put HEL at the forefront of customer satisfaction and support.
In 2020 a re-financing was undertaken to support working capital and part return capital to investors.
The company moved into new HQ in Hemel Hempstead in Summer 2023.
"HEL is a highly successful business with a global customer base. There is lots of exciting potential for further international growth."
Scott Barham, Portfolio Director, Connection Capital
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