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Raising Capital to Fund Growth

A seminar to examine the alternatives.

Wednesday 9th October 2013 – 4.30pm – 7.30pm

At Brewin Dolphin, Time Central, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4SR

It is crucially important that companies in the region are able to raise long term capital as the oxygen to fuel both organic growth and future acquisitions. This panel of experts and entrepreneurs will explore the challenges and opportunities of finance raising. You will be able to hear and learn from Geoff Thompson, CEO of Utilitywise plc, John Waterworth, CEO of Parkdean Holiday Parks and Nigel Mills, Chairman of The Lakes Distillery about their fascinating experiences first hand. All three have considerable experience of raising both public and private capital. We are also pleased to welcome Mark Fahy from The London Stock Exchange to the region, at a time when we are seeing an increased popularity in raising capital via the public equity markets. Other contributions will come from corporate finance specialists from Square One Law and Deloitte.

To reserve your free place at this high profile seminar, please contact


Geoff Thompson

Geoff Thompson – Chief Executive, Utilitywise plc.

Geoff is a science graduate and holds an MBA from Newcastle University. He founded Utilitywise in 2006, having previously held senior management posts within Amicus Outsourcing Limited (a business process outsourcing business) and Spark Response Ltd where he was responsible for the company’s customer contact and fulfilment businesses. He gained specific energy experience whilst supporting energy supply companies to acquire new customers via a range of direct marketing approaches. Utilitywise was founded in 2006 and has developed into one of the leading utility consultancies in the UK. Utilitywise has developed a range of products from procurement solutions to monitoring systems, these include the Energy Health Check, a way to quickly benchmark the energy efficiency of a business with others in the sector; Edd:e a circuit-level power monitoring system and Utility Insight a complete utility usage reporting systemIt has a diverse range of clients from single site high street shops to multinationals with thousands of sites. Coverage is across the UK and Ireland with teams also selling into the French and German market.
Utilitywise was admitted to AIM in June 2012.

John Waterworth

John Waterworth – Chief Executive, Parkdean Holidays.

Parkdean Holidays is one of the UK’s biggest providers of holiday homes including caravans, lodges and apartments within 24 award-winning holiday parks across the country. The company was formed in November 1999 with the acquisition of Trecco Bay Holiday Park in South Wales, the UK’s largest caravan park, and has grown significantly via acquisition to 24 parks, playing a key role in the consolidation of a highly fragmented sector. Parkdean is one of the leaders in the UK holiday park market, selling 200,000 short breaks and seven-night holidays every year. Parkdean won Company of the Year at the Tyneside and Northumberland Business Awards in 2003, the Learning, Training and Skills Award at the North East Business Awards in 2006 and Best UK Holiday Park Operator consecutively in 2010 and 2011 at the British Travel Awards. John has almost 30 years’ experience in the leisure sector both in park management and at director level. He is on the operational committee of the British Graded Holiday Parks Scheme (BGHPS), is a former Director of the National Caravan Council (NCC) and a former Director of Lincolnshire TEC. He has twice been a regional finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year in 2004 and 2007.

Nigel Mills

Nigel Mills – ex CEO of Mills Group.

A chartered accountant by training, Nigel founded the Mills Group and grew the business to 85 stores, with a turnover of £165m and 2,000 staff. The company won the Grocer Gold Award – Best Independent Retailer, and was sold to Tesco in 2011 for £20m+. He has also developed a hotel chain, and now owns The Trout in Cockermouth, which has been named as ‘Cumbrian Large Hotel of the Year’ in 2011 and is Chairman of the recently launched Lakes Distillery company.

Nigel is also Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

Mark Fahy

Mark Fahy – Head of UK Growth Markets, London Stock Exchange plc.

Mark is Head of the UK Growth Markets at the London Stock Exchange managing a team of business development managers covering UK Equity Primary Markets. He is also specifically responsible as the Regional Director for the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland and as part of that role manages the Exchange’s relationship with over 350 on both the Main Market and AIM. He is also responsible for the relationships with private companies considering flotation and the Advisory community across the same regions. Previously he was an Institutional Fund Manager running a UK Pension Fund and is also an Associate of the Society of Investment Professionals.

James Bryce

James Bryce – Partner, Square One Law.

James is a partner in the corporate team at Square One Law, advising on a variety of M&A, private equity and public equity transactions, with particular experience of clients in the energy sector. Prior to joining Square One Law, James worked for 2 large international law firms in both London and Newcastle. He has also spent time on secondment at a FTSE 100 property development company, advising on a large retail bond offering, and as part of the corporate finance team of an investment bank, working on a number of public market transactions on both AIM and the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.

David Frith

David Frith – Partner, Deloitte.

David is a Partner in the Corporate Finance team at Deloitte. He has advised on over 100 transactions in his 20 years in Corporate Finance. David specialises in on-going and proactive advice to corporate boards, fund-raising, M&A support and helping shareholders assess their options. David’s recent transactions include advising the shareholders of CSI on the acquisition and subsequent disposal of their business and advising the shareholders of Thornton and Ross on the £221m disposal to STADA.

Graham Robb

Graham Robb – Chairman and Facilitator.

Graham Robb is Senior Partner of Recognition Marketing and PR.

He serves on the board of the Institute of Directors in the North and the board of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum and is well connected in the world of politics. Graham’s career started as a Radio Presenter/Producer on Radio Tees in 1980. He was given the enviable opportunity to interview Margaret Thatcher where she encouraged him to follow his instinct and subsequently inspired him to get involved in politics. Professionally, he has provided PR support to John Major, William Hague and David Cameron. Graham founded Darlington based Recognition in 1990, which supports over 75 clients specialising in Consumer and Healthcare, The Energy Sector and Business, Enterprise and Education. Graham also frequently features in the media, with contributions on radio and TV and regular columns and opinion pieces in newspapers.

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