U-POL’s product range included body fillers, coatings and aerosols for the global automotive aftermarket. The company had an excellent reputation for product quality and innovation, which were key drivers of its global success. When Graphite invested in 2010, U-POL was the market leader in the UK and was growing its market share in the US, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa and Russia. Distribution channels included national and regional distributors, automotive repair outlets, retail stores and online resellers. During our ownership, we drove major changes in all areas of the business. We strengthened U-POL’s leadership team, with new hires bringing a broader strategic vision based on their previous experience of working with larger customers across a variety of distribution channels and geographies. A full re-branding and significant investment in R&D and new product development enabled U-POL to expand into new sectors and channels, including directly to consumers. Revenues in North America, the largest market, more than quadrupled, with U-POL winning many new accounts including all of the largest automotive aftermarket retailers. Its share of the European market also rose considerably and its leading position in many developing markets further strengthened.
Key Business Achievements
Invested in and professionalised all central functions to accelerate growth
Established a sector-leading NPD and innovation capability
Grew export revenues by over 150%
Penetrated retail and online channels, in particular in the United States
Became the global leader in protective coatings through its ‘Raptor’ brand
Doubled EBITDA to over £25 million
In September 2021 Graphite sold U-POL to Axalta Coating Systems Inc for £428 million, generating a multiple of 4.5 times the cost of its investment.