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Toye & Co descendent tries to turn family business private again

Toye & Co make ceremonial medals, such as this one created for serving military personnel for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Press Association

The chairman of one of the UK’s oldest family businesses has posted a formal offer to de-list the jewellery and medal maker and return it to full family ownership.

Bryan Toye, a direct descendent of the original founders of Toye & Co, took a controlling interest in the Birmingham company last week, and immediately announced a 35p per share offer to remaining shareholders.

Independent directors have recommended shareholders reject the offer saying it does not represent fair value for the company.

Founded in 1685, Toye & Co creates jewellery and identity products for governments, military, and friendly societies.

The company, which was around while the Stuarts were still on the throne, holds a Royal Warrant from the British monarchy as a supplier of gold and silver laces, insignia and embroidery.

Toye & Co listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) – the London stock exchange’s market for smaller companies – 11 years ago. It’s revenues for 2012 were £9 million (€11 million).

A statement released last week by Bryan Toye Limited (BTL), a special purpose limited liability company, said: “During this time, the company has not benefited as much as it had hoped from being listed while the costs attaching to such status are substantial in relation to the company's size.”

Independent directors said Toye’s offer was 30% down on the closing price before the offer period started and 23% down on the average share price for the last six months.

But they conceded that if Toye obtains 75% of shares, and the company is de-listed as a result, shareholders might have trouble selling their shares for a reasonable price.

BTL currently has a 53.38% stake and irrevocable commitments from other shareholders representing 14.30%.

Toye joined the family business in 1956 and has been chairman since 1969. His wife, Fiona, is chief executive of the business. 

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