Gordons advises BGF on multi-million pound investment in outdoor furniture manufacturer Akula Living

Thursday 11th January 2024

Akula Living, a marine-grade outdoor furniture manufacturer to the world’s largest hospitality and cruise operators, has attracted a multi-million pound investment from BGF.

Partner and head of corporate, James Fawcett, supported by corporate solicitors Lisa Murphy and Matt Watson and employment solicitor Oliver Allanach, advised BGF on the investment.

Wetherby-headquartered Akula Living was founded in 2009 by chief executive Tim Appleton and supplies hospitality and cruise operators such as Royal Caribbean, Four Seasons, Holland America, Marriott and Hilton. The company has international offices in Hong Kong, Dubai and the US.

Sales growth has been achieved in in recent years, with turnover reaching £22m revenue in the year to September 2023.

With 95 per cent of sales to overseas markets, the company’s export success was honoured with a King’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade 2023.

Following the BGF investment, Akula Living is aiming to continue its growth trajectory, further solidifying its status in the hospitality and cruise industries.

Akula Living chief executive Tim Appleton said: “We’ve achieved strong growth to date but wanted to partner with an investor who could help us to supercharge our ambitions. When you combine our experience, originating from a nearly 100-year legacy of textile manufacturing, with BGF’s expertise and track record of scaling businesses, we’re a force to be reckoned with.

“This latest investment will not only enhance the company’s market position but also contribute significantly to the broader economy.”

The deal was led by Chris Boyes and James Baker, investors in BGF’s Yorkshire team, with BGF portfolio director Becky Odam joining Akula’s board on completion. Andy Dunkley has been named non-executive chair (NXC), having been introduced by BGF’s Talent Network – one of the UK and Ireland’s largest groups of board-level non-executives.

BGF investor Chris Boyes said: “Akula is a fantastic company, which has demonstrated excellent growth, partnering with some of the world’s most recognisable brands in the hotel and cruise industries. We’ve been hugely impressed by Tim and the team and look forward to working together to achieve our global ambitions for the business.”

TLP managing partner Paul Land, adviser to Akula, added: “Akula is a true Yorkshire success story, the growth of the business has been remarkable and it has been a pleasure to deliver an exceptional result for Tim and the Akula team. It has been hugely exciting and rewarding to work with Akula; they have created a really special business; a culture underpinned by technical excellence, innovation and exceptional customer service to an array of large blue chip global companies.

“BGF will be a fantastic partner for Akula and I have no doubt they will go on to achieve even greater things.”

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