“We very quickly understood the challenges facing the business. Within two weeks of the first meeting the icebreaker team produced a detailed sourcing and stockholding strategy which credibly targeted over a £600,000 saving + 900k 1 off cash improvement + £400k revenue growth by using a more responsive combination of near and far-east product sourcing, supplier stock holding, asset financing and a radical reduction on SKU proliferation. In addition, Icebreaker proposed a fundamental re-focusing of the distribution strategy matched against the new sourcing methodology. This involved moving to direct web fulfilment whilst nonetheless preserving the value in the local dealer network.”
Impact on the business/bottom line
“Without bank support, it proved impossible to engage with Icebreaker as we would have wished and we, therefore, looked for external investment. “Icebreaker was of huge assistance in bringing to bear their relationships with venture capitalists and asset finance houses and we built a credible bid which unfortunately was declined by our bankers in favour of a trade sale to Shoefest.”
Achievement of objectives
Icebreaker finally submitted an offer with a VC for the business which was trumped by a rival bid. In hindsight, given their access to VCs and seasoned turnaround skills, I wish now that we had gone ahead and engaged Icebreaker to support us much earlier. With their support, we could have delivered the turnaround plan to enable an investor exit within 12m.
“I first met with Icebreaker on 28 August 2009, when our ability to trade through the next 6 months looked bleak. In January we followed up and began a very constructive dialogue with Icebreaker. I was been very impressed with the quality and focus of the team. They developed a proposal to re-engineer our business model and commercial proposition to deliver an attractive investment proposition and exit. At that time we were facing significant pressure from our bankers and the board, therefore, deferred engaging with Icebreaker whilst we sought investment capital.
Leadership/people management skills
I am convinced that, had we engaged with Icebreaker earlier we would have succeeded in securing the necessary investment on our terms. With their support, the incumbent management could have retained control of the business, aligned and managed stakeholder expectations and delivered shareholder value through this difficult time.”