Global Edition

Graphite Capital acquires European Golf Brands for £26m

11.55pm 25th January 2004 - Corporate

European Golf Brands (EGB), the leading manufacturer and supplier of electric golf trolleys under the PowaKaddy and Hill Billy brands, has been acquired by London-based private equity house, Graphite Capital Management. EGB has enjoyed a massive upturn in fortunes in recent years by establishing PowaKaddy and Hill Billy as leaders in their fields, increasing profitability and creating an attractive working environment. The introduction of additional management and the new funding structure are key elements of the company’s strategy to continue its strong sales growth in the future.
European Golf Brands has pioneered the development of the electronic trolley market worldwide by rapidly broadening the market appeal to a younger audience who are now more readily embracing the performance benefits of PowaKaddy and Hill Billy products.
As a result of the transaction John deGraft Johnson and David Wells will continue in their roles as managing director and UK sales and marketing director respectively and they are joined by Fergus J O‘Rafferty (non-executive chairman) and Rossa McDermott (international sales and marketing director). Mike Snapes, the existing chairman and joint founder of EGB, has decided to leave in order to concentrate on his other business interests. During his tenure as chairman, Mike Snapes and the management team have doubled the sales of the business and established EGB as the global leader in electric trolleys.
The management team was backed by funds managed by Graphite Capital, a leading provider of private equity in the UK and by Barclays Bank, which provided the debt.
The management team comprises:

  • Chairman – Fergus J. O‘Rafferty, an Irish-Canadian businessman, joins EGB with extensive executive experience in North America & Europe.
  • Managing Director – John deGraft Johnson, who has been EGB’s chief executive officer for 12 years during which time he has seen the business grow from a £4m ($7m) turnover business to a £22m ($40m) turnover business.
  • UK sales & marketing director – David Wells who has 7 years‘ experience as head of UK and international sales. Going forward David will focus on the UK and Ireland to ensure the company remains a market leader in these important markets.
  • International sales & marketing director – Rossa McDermott joins the company with a successful track record in building international sales for companies in the healthcare and sports equipment industries over the last decade.

Following the completion of the transaction, Fergus O‘ Rafferty said, “The Company wishes to thank Mike Snapes for his significant contribution to the business during his time as chairman. We would like to wish him every success in his other ventures.
“As the new chairman of EGB I am delighted to have the opportunity of working with John deGraft Johnson and David Wells who have made a tremendous contribution to the success of the company.”
Managing director John deGraft Johnson predicts a very prosperous future for EGB, “The new management team and additional funding, combined with the great products, people and strategies we already have in place, will give the PowaKaddy and Hill Billy brands fresh impetus to achieve our ambitious growth objectives in the coming years”
European Golf Brands Ltd is based in Sittingbourne, Kent.

David Wells can be contacted at EGB on +44 (0)1795 473555 (e – mail


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