03 MAY 2024

RMB Ventures invests in the Bulldog Group to enable them beyond organic growth


In a strategic move that underscores RMB Ventures’ commitment to fostering growth and driving value, the private equity firm has successfully closed an investment deal with the Bulldog Group (“Bulldog”).

Bulldog is a leading wholesaler and distributor of paint and consumables to the A-grade auto-refinish industry, and the industrial, DIY and woodwork sectors. It services the market through three businesses namely Bulldog Abrasives, RSB and Y.E.S.  Bulldog has grown organically over the past 30 years to become a market leading wholesaler and distributor in the auto-refinish industry. It boasts an impressive range of exclusive agencies including some of the world’s foremost brands in the paint, abrasive and paint consumable markets.

RMB Ventures has invested in Bulldog to enable them to accelerate their growth journey and fully take advantage of opportunities to expand into adjacent sectors. In addition, to enhance their Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (“B-BBEE”) status, RMB has partnered alongside Mohau Equity Partners, a black, women-owned PE fund, affording Bulldog 31% black female ownership.

Bulldog has developed a world-class distribution machine offering same or next day delivery across most parts of the country and support by highly trained technical and sales teams. They currently supply a broad spectrum of quality products to service the auto-refinish industry, as well as offering equipment and technical advice. Their client base includes automotive paint and consumable retailers as well as A-grade refinishing and insurance approved auto repair companies. They have successfully leveraged this distribution platform to service other verticals, including the DIY, industrial and woodworking industries. There remain significant opportunities to grow the business in these relatively new verticals, and expand into other industries, and RMB will be working with Bulldog to develop and execute on this strategy.

“We are looking to grow and expand our product portfolio in both the auto industry and the industrial segment, and this might include supplementing organic growth with strategic acquisitions. We needed a strong partner to help us analyse risk and return as well as drive the successful execution of our growth strategy. RMB Ventures’ reputation, their ability to help businesses realise their full potential, and their unique skills and experience in acquisitions, will be invaluable to us as we embark on this journey,” says John Maroun, Group CEO of Bulldog.

Bulldog’s extraordinary growth has come off the back of 30 years of senior managers and shareholders reinvesting almost all returns back into the business. RMB Ventures’ investment included purchasing shares from existing management team shareholders, to help them realise value and partially de-risk their investment. In addition, RMB Ventures provided a cash injection to assist with funding growth ambitions.

“RMB Ventures is deeply invested in South Africa, and we look for opportunities to support and participate in growing local enterprises. Bulldog is an outstanding homegrown success story, representing a world-class business built from scratch by an incredibly dedicated management team, with unparalleled market understanding,” says Amina Pahad, Senior Transactor, RMB Ventures.

“It is also a rare example of a business that has seen outstanding progress, yet still has so much room to grow. The broad and deep expertise of management has been instrumental in building this formidable business, and we are excited to walk the journey with them to take the business to the next level and achieve their full potential,” she concludes.





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