Bridges backs sock maker

The UK venture firm with a social mission has invested £1.35 million in a management buyout of SealSkinz, an outdoor clothing maker based in an under-invested part of the UK.

Bridges Ventures, the socially-minded investment group, has backed a management buyout of SealSkinz, a UK-based company that makes waterproof gloves and socks.

Bridges is investing £1.35 million (€1.98 million, $2.67 million) to fund the buyout of SealSkinz, which fits the firm’s social criteria because it is based in King’s Lynn in Norfolk – statistically one of the most under-invested areas of the UK, according to the government.

It is backing the existing management team, led by managing director Andrew Dahl, which is buying the business out of its current owner KL Technologies.

SealSkinz makes waterproof gloves and socks that are used primarily by cyclists and hikers. It is also in the process of branching out into sportswear, with the launch of a new breathable football sock that is currently gaining popularity among the UK’s top players.

The company, which currently sells most of its products through outdoor clothing retailers, had turnover of £2 million last year, up 35 percent on the previous year.

Bridges director Antony Ross said his firm was: “delighted to be backing such an exciting company in an area where successful businesses of this kind bring enormous benefits to the community.” The firm said SealSkinz would continue to manufacture its products from its King’s Lynn base.