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23 April, 2014 - 11:23 By News Desk

Norwich shoe manufacturer sold to management


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 Simon’s grandfather Adelman Goodman in the early 1900s.

Simon Goodman will step down as chairman, although he will retain a stake in the company. As well as Tony 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. Tony 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.”

Tony Linford added: “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.”

The MBO is being assisted with finance from Barclays.

The Florida Group specialises in manufacturing and retailing high grade ladies’ branded footwear, predominantly under the brand Van Dal.                           

The group also distributes for Marc and is an agent for Pikolinos in the UK and Ireland. The company also make shoes at its Norwich factory for other brands looking to gain a reputation for Made in England products that are retailed both in the UK and exported worldwide.

Steeles Law acted for the shareholders and Birketts for the management team.

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