Social enterprise Clarity – Employment for Blind People (“Clarity”) has been acquired out of administration by Nicholas Marks at Clarity Products Limited in a pre-pack deal that has saved 85 jobs.
Founded in 1854 by philanthropist Elizabeth Gilbert, Clarity is one of the UK’s oldest social enterprises and it was first set up to give visually impaired people a chance to show their abilities in the workplace, build their confidence and develop their skills.
Today, this mission remains at the centre of Clarity as it continues to help visually impaired and other disabled people into the workforce through an employment programme for its three brands of toiletries and homecare products: CLARITY, The Soap Co and Beco.
Headquartered in London, Clarity manufactures everyday household and cleaning products; water-saving, eco-friendly washroom products; and luxury, handcrafted bath and beauty collections from its manufacturing site and laboratory in Highams Park.
Despite its strong heritage and loyal customer base, Clarity has continued to struggle with financial pressures, which prevented further investment to grow the organisation, its products and the employment of disabled people. This led the Trustees of Clarity to seek specialist support and despite the best efforts to secure a turnaround plan, Philip Reynolds and Phil Armstrong within our Restructuring Advisory team were appointed Joint Administrators on 31 January 2020.
Following an accelerated sales process and on their subsequent appointment, the Joint Administrators secured the sale of Clarity to Clarity Products Limited in a deal that safeguards all 85 jobs.
Clarity Products Limited is a company specially formed to acquire Clarity and it will continue to operate as a social enterprise to meet the needs of Clarity’s customers. It is part of MEWA, a South African-based specialist engineering group founded by Cecil Marks in the early part of the last century and Nicholas Marks, the founder’s grandson, is currently Clarity Products Limited’s sole Director. He said: “We are pleased to have acquired a business that has a great history of providing social enterprise support to the community and look forward to working closely with the team as we work together to take Clarity onto the next stage of its journey”.
Philip Reynolds, Partner at FRP, said: “Clarity – Employment for Blind People is a fantastic enterprise that not only provides security of employment for visually impaired and other disabled people, which enables them to achieve independence and play a full part in today’s society, it creates a community that has a genuine, positive impact on people’s lives.
“Importantly this deal secures that community by saving jobs and guaranteeing future employment for a significant number of people, while also enabling the Trustees to meet their obligation to maximise returns for creditors. We wish the team the best of luck on the next stage of its journey.”
Clarity’s board of Trustees added: “The trustees are pleased that a new and committed owner has been found for the business. We are delighted that Clarity has a future and that both 166 years of history and innovation can be continued in a new entity, for the benefit of our beneficiaries, our customers and the wider market. The trustees hope that Clarity will continue to change the lives of disabled people and create a positive social impact. We wish both the existing team and also the new owner every success”.