Alternative lender ThinCats reveals funding role helping Ace Winches get buyback off ground

Alternative lender ThinCats has revealed that it provided an eight-figure funding package enabling the founders of Aberdeenshire-based Ace Winches to buy back the business.

ThinCats, which is focused on mid-sized firms, has said it provided £13.5 million to support the deal and help support the business’ growth.

Ace had said in November that Balmoral Group had sold its stake in the firm to Alfie Cheyne, the founder of the firm officially known as Alfred Cheyne Engineering.

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Hutcheon Mearns advised on the transaction with Bridge & York Capital Partners constructing the initial funding proposition and introducing the client to ThinCats. Law firm CMS acted for Alfie and Valerie Cheyne.

ThinCats provided a £13.5m funding package helping Ace's founders buy back the winch specialist. Picture: contributed.

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Turriff-based Ace was established in 1992 as an engineering business supporting the fishing industry with basic winches and other back-of-deck equipment, but says it is now a global leader in the design, manufacture and hire of lifting and pulling equipment and deploying services in various applications to the oil and gas industry and offshore infrastructure projects.

It adds that it has delivered more than 2,500 projects in 50-plus countries, serving many top-tier global offshore businesses, and announced robust financial results in 2021 “despite the challenging economic backdrop”.

Gary Nutley, senior director at ThinCats, said: “It’s fantastic to support such a prominent operator and respected brand in the sector, continuing to build its exposure and diversify its offering. With Alfie’s vision and passion for the business, their experienced team and engineering expertise, I am sure we will see Ace continue to lead the industry.”

John Blanchflower, head of Bridge & York Capital Partners: “It was a real pleasure to work with Alfie and Valerie in constructing the funding proposition and finding the right funding partner for their specific needs. Having identified ThinCats as that partner, we worked closely with all parties through the credit and execution process to assist the smooth delivery of the transaction.”

Mr Cheyne, who has resumed his duties as Ace chief executive, said ThinCats’ funding will ensure the firm achieves its goals of diversification and geographical expansion. “We have lots of exciting plans for the future, and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of a changing market,” he added.

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