A lot has happened at CPL in 2021 so far. The pandemic, obviously, has been challenging – for our revenues, for employee engagement and for keeping the business running seamlessly with so many changes to working processes.
Behind the scenes we’ve also been working on a number of other things. One major achievement has been completing the first stage of our succession buyout, as our managing director Mike Sewell talks about here.
This has been a real milestone, both for CPL and for me personally. I joined CPL just after the buyout deal was agreed (managing to dodge all the legal stuff – phew!) and my main financial goal for the past four years has been to ensure the business paid off the loan notes. I certainly raised a glass or two the evening I saw the final payment had successfully cleared the bank.
The succession buyout required us to hit gradually increasing profit targets over a four-year-period, to ensure we generated enough cash to make the repayments. I have mentioned in countless company presentations that ‘cash is king’, and the profit targets that we needed to hit were quite daunting. Nonetheless, we steadily made the repayments through 2017, 2018 and 2019.
But then 2020 hit, and life became a little uncertain for a few months. Thankfully, our confidence grew last autumn and it became clear that, although our revenues had been impacted, we would complete the buyout in 2021 as planned.
So in the background – knowing that the end was in sight – we started investigating a few other opportunities, particularly relating to our strategic pillar of ‘Expand’.
This was interesting and exciting, and certainly something to look forward to when, in the wider world, a lot of businesses were treading water at best. We invested lots of time in the opportunities and were quite far down the path for one particular project. As a result, I had visions of a busy spring/summer in 2021, and hoped fervently that homeschooling my children would not need to be added to the mix again.