Victorian Plumbing taps into £850m float on the Aim stock exchange

The Merseyside family behind Victorian Plumbing are set to become one of the richest in the country when the bathroom products retailer floats on the stock market this month.

The Radcliffes will be worth £760million, making them richer than some of the UK’s most established families.

Mark Radcliffe, 42, founded the company from a shed in his parents’ garden just over 20 years ago.

Bathroom bonanza: Mark Radcliffe, 42, (pictured) founded the Victorian Plumbing from a shed in his parents’ garden just over twenty years ago

He has since grown the business, with help from his family, into one of the UK’s leading websites for bathroom kit, selling everything from baths to basins, taps and tiles.

And yesterday the firm was valued at £850million, or 262p per share, ahead of its London listing – setting the stage for a life-changing payday for the Radcliffes. 

The float is set to be the biggest ever on the Aim junior stock exchange, with Barclays and Numis acting as bookrunners.

Top shareholder Mark Radcliffe will sell £212million worth of shares. His stake will shrink from 72 per cent to 46 per cent, giving him a remaining holding worth £389million.

At the same time Neil Radcliffe, the chief executive’s brother and product director, is set to sell £42million worth of shares.

This will take the 40-year-old’s stake down from 14 per cent to 9 per cent and leave him with a £78million holding.

And parents Carole and George, aged 63 and 68 respectively, will sell £12million worth of shares and take their holdings down from 5 per cent to 3 per cent. Their remaining stake will be worth £28million.

Even after the sales, the family will retain majority control, commanding 58 per cent of the stock.

Victorian is hoping to raise £11.6million separately in the float by placing new shares.

Mark Radcliffe added: ‘The overwhelmingly positive reaction to our IPO has been humbling.’

Radcliffe first made his name in the 2000s when he became the UK’s first ‘Ebay millionaire’, after selling tens of thousands of mobile phone accessories every month via the online marketplace.

He also founded Victorian Plumbing, which became his main venture. Victorian went on to move into offices in Formby in 2004 before opening its first showroom in 2009.

By December 2013, the firm was opening its first warehouse, in Skelmersdale, Lancashire, with Radcliffe’s father helping to move stock using a forklift truck. 

The company, which employs 200 staff, has seen sales turbocharged by the DIY boom during the pandemic.

Its website receives 23m visitors per year, with Victorian reporting revenues of £208.7million last year and profits of £26.2million.

Radcliffe, who lives in Merseyside with his wife and three children, is a self-described workaholic and car fanatic.

He has said that he first worked hard in order to buy a Ferrari – a dream he realised aged 26, buying a £150,000 car – and admits that he ‘could never have achieved what I have’ without support from his family.

Father George built him a second shed to store stock after he started out, while mum Carole is said to have made him ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ when he worked long days. She has also served as a director, according to Companies House.

Radcliffe has also described younger brother Neil, who manages the company’s product development and sourcing, as ‘the most valuable asset in the entire business’.

Neil worked as a shelf-stacker at supermarket Morrisons in the evenings because his elder sibling could not afford to pay him.

Another person set to pop the champagne corks is Stephanie Judge, who started out as personal assistant to Radcliffe and office administrator in 2013.

She has risen through the ranks to become managing director and is set to sell 433,378 shares worth £1.1million. The 32-year-old will retain a 0.8 per cent stake worth £6.4million.

  • Upmarket maternity clothes retailer Seraphine is set to float in London. The brand, a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, said it is looking at listing around 25 per cent of its shares.