February 2009


Established in 1809, Denby manufactures high quality stoneware from its Derbyshire factory, where it also welcomes 250,000 visitors a year to the Denby Visitor Centre.

Having been acquired in a traditional private equity transaction several years prior to Hilco’s involvement, Denby became overleveraged with a £72 million historic debt burden, a substantially underfunded final salary pension scheme and a high fixed cost base.

BDO and Clearwater had been seeking a purchaser for the business since July 2008 and, with the lender group unwilling to advance further funds, were carrying out contingency planning for an administration.

Our Role

  • Backed £30m MBO in February 2009
  • Provided finance and working capital to stabilise the business
  • Senior Hilco team took roles on Denby’s board
  • Wider Hilco team provided support in areas including IT, HR and store operations
  • Led full review of brand architecture, brand extension and partnership strategies
  • Hilco Property renegotiated leases, relocated warehouse and managed rapid expansion of outlet store portfolio
  • Financed acquisition of other heritage pottery companies
  • Recruited new, highly experienced MD to grow the business internationally


  • Secured 600 jobs and the future of a historic British manufacturing business
  • 100 additional jobs created to date
  • Doubled the outlet store portfolio to 28 within 18 months, increasing retail turnover by 75%
  • Enduring partnership with fashion & home brand Monsoon launched in October 2009
  • Successful cookware and cutlery ranges launched
  • Acquired Burleigh, Poole Pottery & Hartley Greens
  • Substantial expansion into South Korea
  • Business returned to profitability
  • Awarded Insolvency & Rescue Awards 2009 ‘Business Rescue of the Year’

Sebastian Lazell, CEO, Denby Group

"Hilco have been supportive partners to Denby for over a decade helping with our Premiumise, Modernise and Internationalise agenda substantially.

From cash flow support setting up international subsidiaries to expand our geographic footprint, to UK retail optimisation, and sound advice on brand, ecommerce and supply chain, we find Hilco at all times a positive, engaged investor striking a healthy balance between active involvement and appropriate distance."

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If your business or a business in your portfolio is facing a current challenge, our team can provide a qualified perspective and experience-based guidance toward an optimised resolution.