C K Gas Products, a UK-based supplier of gases, gas mixtures and related gas handling equipment, is opening a new chapter in its history after its acquisition by former Yara Industrial employee Wayne Pepper.
Pepper has grasped the opportunity to take over the company after discovering the impending retirement of Colin Knipe.
With almost 30 years in the industry, C K Gas Products supplies industrial and research establishments with a comprehensive range of specialty gases, high purity gases and gas mixtures. The company also provides the related gas handling equipment, from gas regulators to complex special gas installations.
C K Gas Products is currently an agent for five US companies, including Virginia Beach-based CONCOA.
Both Wayne and the outgoing Colin believe that the business is perfectly placed to further develop its niche position in the UK as a specialist supplier of special gases, gas equipment and Isotopes. But for Wayne, having worked at Yara for 14 years and exiting the position of European Retail Sales Director, the leap from employee to company owner was not an obvious decision.
“I knew it was something I had to make happen as it’s not every day you have the opportunity to purchase a well respected niche business”
Wayne Pepper, C K Gas Products
He told gasworld, “Never a day went by at Yara when I felt that we weren’t making positive progress, and with every position held within the company, I always wanted us to do more.”
“Whether it was pushing for improved sales performance, optimising cost performance, improving quality, eliminating potential health and safety risk or developing the knowledge of our employees, something was always on the agenda for change.”
“It was only when Colin make a passing comment during a routine phone discussion, confirming he was considering the business sale, that I began to wonder whether this could indeed be an opportunity for a new challenge,” he added.
“Starting our discussions from a point of mutual trust and respect, I decided to ask the obvious question – if I can get the funds together, would you consider me as a potential buyer? When Colin replied that he would consider selling me the business, I knew it was something I had to make happen as it’s not every day you have the opportunity to purchase a well respected niche business.”
The deal was no easy decision for Colin either. With over 35 years in the business, he has made many friends both in his home market and across the gas industry globally, with a high number of successful relationships in the US.
“Colin also confirmed how much he has enjoyed running C K Gas Products over the years,” Pepper explained, “always having a lot of fun and holding fond memories of the numerous personal relationships he managed to create.”
Just one month after their initial discussions, gasworld understands, Pepper and Knipe had the outline of a deal in principle and a further month later the finances were in place and it was only a case of agreeing contracts.