Maplin Electronics

Maplin was in the early stages of a turnaround following a period of significant underperformance when Graphite was given the opportunity to acquire the business from its financial owner.

Maplin is a chain of high-street and out-of-town retail stores selling a range of electronic components and accessories. At the time of Graphite’s investment it also operated a mail order catalogue and an expanding internet business. In June 2001 Graphite Capital led the £41 million management buy-out of Maplin, backing an exceptionally broad management team with strong expertise across all key areas of this fast-growing consumer retail business.

Maplin generated strong sales from a variety of store locations, making it highly suitable for nationwide retail roll-out. The company had strong potential to reduce the number of SKUs in its stores and catalogue, and focus on high-margin accessories and components. We were also attracted by its lean cost structure and ability to expand further without significant investment in central overheads.

Key Business Achievements

Accelerated the roll-out of retail stores across the UK, opening 37 outlets in three years

Adapted the product range to attract a wider set of customers, in particular women

Transferred an increasing proportion of product sourcing to the Far East

Developed an industry-leading website and e-commerce facility

Consistently grew like-for-like sales at double-digit rates and quadrupled operating profit

9.5 x

Return on Graphite's Investment

Business Exit

In 2004 Maplin was sold for £244 million to Montagu Private Equity, generating a multiple of 9.5 times cost and an IRR of over 120 per cent.