Hornby PLC

The Basics

Hornby is the name of the largest brand within the company, but actually Hornby is a portfolio of heritage toy and collectible brands that many generations have fond memories of. If you were to try to recreate the emotional attachment these brands have, it would cost a lot of money. This is valuable and we have installed an exceptionally experienced management team to help us delight customers and monetise this goodwill.

Castelnau Group holds a controlling stake in Hornby PLC, which remains listed on the Alternative Investment Market.

The Story

Our investment manager has been invested in Hornby for more than a decade. Over that period the business made several missteps. At each of these unfortunate junctures, we took a larger stake in the business.

As our stake increased, our influence and involvement with the business grew. After buying the stake of the 2nd largest shareholder, we crossed the 50% ownership line, which means we were obliged to bid for the whole business.

Shareholders were accepting only up to a certain point and we were left with voting control of the company.

We were able persuade the board to let us have a seat at the table and began to help the company optimise the strategy and install the best team in the industry.

This process ended in a decision to stop discounting, fix the supply chain, bring back experienced staff and eventually buy our fiercest competitor, bringing the best management in the industry onto our side.

The Opportunity

We are just over three years into a turnaround plan. The supply chain in the Far East has been fixed and is humming like a well-oiled Spitfire engine. The discounting of products has ended, and we have rebuilt the trust with our retailers and collectors. Sales are growing quickly again; margins are expanding, and losses are narrowing rapidly.

We are moving in the right direction, but there is still much work do to make the company better than it has ever been. This includes some intensive engagement with another Castelnau Group Company, Rawnet. They are helping Hornby realise their digital potential. Our customers are increasingly finding our products online and we intend to embrace that change.

Careers at Hornby

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