Grove Industries / GIL Investments
Grove Industries was founded in 1991 by David Grove and Les Litwinowicz when they led an ambitious buy-in MBO of an underperforming engineering group called Anglo Engineering.
Following a remarkable run of early success, the group began making its own acquisitions and recruited Trevor Middleton to help run and build the portfolio. Soon afterwards they were able to buy out their initial backers from Close Brothers Private Equity.
In the late 1990s the team were involved in the acquisition of a significant stake in the listed infrastructure products business Hill & Smith Plc. David Grove ultimately became CEO of H&S for ten years between 1998 and 2008 whilst still actively investing in new businesses.
Privately funded since 1999
By 2000 the ‘Grove’ team formed GIL Investments (“GIL”) to more effectively manage an ever-growing portfolio of standalone investments. GIL continued to pursue a long-term, management-focused investment style and made a number of investments outside its traditional engineering heartland. It acquired Tractiv, its first multi-jurisdictional business and diversified into plastic toys, childrens’ car seats and rubber moulding. The business moved into its current offices on Timothy’s Bridge Road in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Whilst still CEO of Hill and Smith Plc and also supervising GIL, David Grove was appointed President of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce in 2003.
“Private investment with a difference”
In 2010 the GIL Charitable Trust was formed to support selected charities such as Help for Heroes and the Marie Curie Solihull Hospice Appeal. The trustees have also supported a number of local charities and seek to support young people in education and training, particularly those with an interest in working in manufacturing.
As the portfolio moved into double figures, the team was expanded with the recruitment of Richard Banham from KBC Peel Hunt. David’s son Jonathon Grove also joined the business from a background in corporate communications. The acquisitions of Akcros (2008) and Erlson (2010) were followed soon after by a majority stake in Road Transport Media (2011), completing a series of acquisitions of non-core assets from large overseas and UK corporates which has recently become GIL’s area of specialism.
“We are David’s legacy”
In November 2011 David Grove (recently made an OBE for services to Business) suffered a heart attack at his home in Warwickshire. His memorial service was held in Birmingham Cathedral and attended by several hundred family, friends and colleagues. His obituary appeared in the Daily Telegraph and can be read here –
Despite this deep personal tragedy, the GIL team has continued to make investments in line with David’s visionary investment philosophy. Since his sad passing the team have made three new investments, and exited the Covpress investment which saw the last Anglo business (NCJ Pressings) depart the Grove/GIL family.
Today GIL is invested in businesses with an aggregate turnover of over £300m and employs over 1,000 people.
In January 2016 the business celebrated 25 years since the formation of Grove Industries. The team intends to continue to invest in businesses and their people for many years to come.