28th July 2016

Newcastle-based business advisory firm UNW has completed two major deals for clients in two days.

UNW’s corporate finance team advised Gentoo on the sale Romag, its speciality glass division, to Clayton Glass and the shareholders of ForSkills on its sale to national awarding organisation, NCFE.

UNW has been working with Sunderland-based housing organisation Gentoo for more than a year on a variety of projects. The company was keen to sell its specialist glass maker Romag to concentrate on its core housing activities and Clayton Glass, based in Stanley, Co Durham, was an ideal fit. The deal took around three months to negotiate and the sale was agreed for an undisclosed sum.

Romag will continue to produce its specialist solar glass from its Consett base under its own branding, and under the ownership of fast-growing Clayton Glass, which is the North East’s biggest independent producer of insulated glass and composite glass doors and windows.

Meanwhile, the deal for Newcastle-based national qualifications awarding organisation NCFE to acquire ed-tech company, ForSkills, which provides assessments and resources for functional skills qualifications, was announced the day after Clayton Glass took over Romag.

UNW advised ForSkills, which has bases in Nottinghamshire and County Durham, on the disposal of the business to NCFE. ForSkills investors, which includes local fund NorthStar, appointed UNW at the end of 2015 to review its options.

Online diagnostic testing and learning content for functional skills and GCSE qualifications specialist ForSkills had already worked with NCFE on a partnership basis on a number of projects. As part of the deal, ForSkills’ executive director Myles Ponsonby will join the NCFE management board.

UNW corporate finance partner John Healey who also advised Gentoo and ForSkills, and also recently advised on the sale of assessment engine The Test Factory to GL Education, commented: “Awarding Bodies, much like training providers, are increasingly looking at ways to differentiate their offer. Adding established ed-tech platforms, which in this case encompass assessment, diagnostic and content, to the portfolio of services they can offer to providers, employers and learners is a creative and impactful way to do this.

“UNW is building a strong reputation in the corporate finance world, both in the North East and nationally. The strength in depth of our team with its different specialities means we are able to advise businesses across a variety of sectors and stages.”

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