Rugby boss pockets £35m from sale of stake in glazing firm

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Brian Kennedy, the owner of the rugby union club Sale Sharks, pocketed an estimated £35m from the sale of a minority stake in the double glazing company Everest.

The sale of a 25 per cent holding to the buyout firm Hutton Collins, which values the company at £150m, is the latest successful exit for Mr Kennedy, a home improvement impresario with an estimated net worth of £350m. He also owns the window company Weatherseal and conservatories group Ultraframe.

Through the sale he reduced his holding in Everest from 66 to 43 per cent, meaning he remains the largest single owner, though he does not have an operational role.

Everest's managing director, Simon Jarman, said he would use the new cash to expand the company's reach beyond its traditional strength in windows and doors to transform it into an "all-encompassing home improvement brand."

Everest has branched out into other areas such as kitchens and gutters. Mr Jarman added that the public's increasing fixation with energy efficiency will be a major driver of growth.

He and five directors of the company increased their aggregate holding in the company from 11 to 25 per cent. Bank of Scotland put up £100m in new debt as part of the deal.

"The brand is very strong and there is a whole lot more mileage that we can get out of it over the next three to five years. That will mean an above-line investment in the brand and a continual launch of home improvement products," Mr Jarman said.

He did not rule out the possibility of a stock market float in the future, saying, "I can't say categorically that the plan is to float. The plan is to grow the business, and leave the door open for a number of potential opportunities."

In the financial year through October 2006, Everest earned £16m in profit on turnover of £160m. Mr Jarman said the crisis in the credit markets had no effect on the sale process, which kicked off in the spring.

Haseeb Aziz, the Hutton Collins director who led the deal for the private equity firm, said: "We are delighted to be investing alongside the current management in this dynamic business, and we look forward to working with them to look at all opportunities for the business and drive future growth."

Mr Kennedy, a Scottish-born entrepreneur who lives in Cheshire and keeps a villa in Mallorca, bought Everest for £33m in 1998 in conjunction with the buyout giant 3i.