The future of Norwich’s last remaining shoe manufacturer is set to be secured, with the news that outline agreement has been reached for the company to be bought by its management.
The Florida Group’s management team, led by managing director Tony Linford, has agreed terms for the buy-out with chairman Simon Goodman and family, which has owned the company since it was founded by Mr Goodman’s grandfather Adelman Goodman in the early 1900s.
Mr Goodman will step down as chairman, although he will retain a stake in the company.
As well as Mr Linford, the management team involved in the buy-out comprises head of product Claire Farmer, head of marketing Jason Larke, head of finance and HR Pamela Clarke, and head of logistics Anne-Mette Christensen.
Mr Linford joined The Florida Group in 2008, recruiting the current management team in the ensuing 12 months.
With Heads of Terms agreed, it is envisaged that the buy-out will be completed in the next couple of months.
Simon Goodman said, “As I have approached retirement, my primary concern has been to secure the future of the Florida Group and the people who work within the company.
It has always been a strong possibility that Tony and the team would eventually buy the business, and I am delighted that this is now set to happen.
“This is a really strong leadership team which is ideally placed to take the company into the future, and I step down in the knowledge that this great business is in safe hands.”
Mr Linford said, “I and my management team are really pleased that we have been able to agree this management buy-out. The Florida Group, and its brands, has such a strong presence in the shoe trade.
“The team and I have exciting plans to take the company forward. We plan to expand the business, taking advantage of the opportunities being presented by changes in the footwear industry. We will announce more detailed plans in due course.
“After so many years in the hands of the Goodman family, I feel privileged to be taking the helm of such a great business, and I am determined to build a future for the company which is as distinguished as its history to date.”
The management buy-out is being assisted with finance from Barclays.