Lodge Brothers Funeral Directors

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Castle Corporate Finance Limited (“Castle”) has advised the shareholders of family-owned funeral directors Lodge Brothers Funeral Directors (“Lodge Brothers”/the “Group”) in relation to the Group’s transition to employee ownership through an Employee Ownership Trust (“EOT”). The move to employee ownership marks a significant milestone in the Group’s history. Now fully owned by its dedicated workforce, Lodge Brothers stands as the pioneering funeral directors in the UK to embark on this transformative journey.

Established in 1780 by the Lodge family, Lodge Brothers has earned acclaim for its compassionate funeral support, legal services, funeral plans and memorials. With 48 funeral offices spanning Surrey, Middlesex, Hillingdon, Berkshire, and West London, the Group has remained steadfast in its commitment to serving communities.

A robust senior management structure has been implemented, with the existing Board of Directors retaining responsibility for steering the Group’s strategic vision. Additionally, an inaugural Board of Trustees has been appointed to oversee the EOT, ensuring that the Group’s operations align with the best interests of its employees.

The decision to embrace employee ownership stems from Lodge Brothers’ commitment to maintain independence, uphold its values, and recognise the foundational contributions of the workforce.

Robert Lodge, Chairman, commented: “Our employees are the heart of our service to clients. By entrusting Lodge Brothers to those who drive its success each day, we are safeguarding the longevity and prosperity of our business.”

Paul Bye, Senior Commercial Manager, added: “Becoming the UK’s first employee-owned funeral directors signifies a genuine opportunity for Lodge Brothers, fostering a culture of collaboration and empowering our team members. Our longstanding family enterprise embraces modernity and forward-thinking, and I am thrilled to contribute to its evolution in the next 200 years.”

The Castle team led by director, Victoria Ansell, and assisted by Senior Manager, Alex Nursey, explored exit options for the shareholders, and worked closely with them to find a suitable outcome for all.

Michael Lodge commented: “Castle came recommended to us and we were delighted with the specialist support and guidance that the team provided. They immediately understood the ethos and values of our family company, which was hugely important to us. Victoria and Alex worked tirelessly, providing invaluable commercial and technical advice throughout. We cannot thank them enough.”

Victoria Ansell added: “It has been a real privilege to work with Michael, Robert, and the Lodge family throughout this process. Transition to an EOT is not to be undertaken lightly, but can provide a unique succession strategy for the right business, and for shareholders who wish to see legacy and values preserved – which was exactly the case here. It was a complex transaction involving  FCA and SRA consents, as well as a competitive funding process, on top of the usual valuation, tax, and legal workstreams. Barclays ultimately came up with a compelling funding solution, and the whole deal team pulled together to make it happen. I wish Lodge Brothers every success under this new structure.”

Victoria Ansell and Alex Nursey at Castle Corporate Finance acted as lead advisers on the transaction.

Funding was provided by Barclays Bank plc, with legal advice provided by Thomson Snell & Passmore and valuation and tax advice from Menzies. Outset Legal advised the Board of Trustees.

Castle also introduced J. Gadd Associates to support Lodge Brothers’ transition to employee ownership.

 

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