Funeral homes company on acquisition trail with help from FIBA member Reward Finance Group

23 Feb 2022

Husband and wife team, James and Charlotte Gardner, of Rebiere Holdings in Kent, have completed the purchase of their second funeral home, with the announcement of an ambitious plan to acquire more funeral homes in the future.

Having bought 245-year-old Viner & Sons in West Malling, near Maidstone, last year, they have now purchased Hogben & Partis in Faversham, with the help of a capital injection from Reward Finance Group.

James’s association with Viner & Sons goes back to his teenage years when he used to clean the funeral cars. He then worked with the firm for a short period after leaving university and embarking on a career with his brother Paul.

The two of them built up a manufacturing company from a start-up business in 2000 and expanded into America. Eventually they sold the business to a US-owned plastic mouldings business, staying on as UK MDs to help the company expand across Europe.

Looking for a new challenge, James drew on his experience and identified there are many funeral homes like Viner & Sons and Hogben & Partis, where the directors are working well past retirement age, which would welcome the opportunity to sell the business to a company that shares the same principles as them and who will safeguard the staff.

Speaking about his expansion plans, James Gardner said,

“Having had experience of working with Viner & Sons, albeit it many years ago, I recognised the potential to build a network of independent funeral homes across Kent and then further afield.

“We were presented with an opportunity to buy Hogben & Partis. With a great deal of interest in the sale, we knew we had to move fast, but to do so we needed additional capital to complete the purchase.

“We initially approached our bank but were shocked that, even though we had ample security to cover the loan, their caution was beyond belief, and they would not lend us the money.

“Fortunately, Andy Redman of finance brokers, ABL Business, introduced us to Simon Adcock of Reward Finance Group who met with us, liked our business plan, and quickly provided us with the funds to complete the purchase.

“Reward has a really refreshing approach to finance, like old fashioned banking,” he continued.

“They get to know you, buy into your vision, and build a relationship rather than making decisions based purely on a spreadsheet, without even taking the time to meet with you.

“I am delighted to say that Simon and his team really like our expansion plan and have agreed to continue to work closely with us to grow the acquisitions by looking at valuations and ensuring the funds are available to move quickly.”

Simon Adcock, Reward’s business development director for London and the South East, added,

“Rebiere Holdings is a fantastic business created by James and Charlotte. As well having an excellent business plan, it has also performed impressively, having increased revenue by 54% in the past six months at Viner & Sons.

“We also like the fact they are keen to maintain the family values of the businesses; want to support the local community; and are great advocates of eco-friendly funerals, all of which tie in perfectly with our ESG policy.

“We therefore had no hesitation in quickly providing them with the funding to buy Hogben & Partis and we look forward to continuing to work with them as they expand their network.”