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Wickes Group plc
Acquisition of majority stake in
leading solar installations business Solar Fast

Wickes Group plc ("Wickes") announces today that it has agreed to acquire 51% of the issued share capital of Gas Fast Limited (“the Business”), the parent company of leading solar installations company Solar Fast (“Solar Fast”) (“the Transaction”). The Business focuses on solar panels installations, alongside a smaller business installing gas boilers.

The acquisition will enable Wickes to expand its offering into the fast-growing market for home energy solutions, initially with solar and gas boilers and, in time, air source heat pumps and other services. The UK market for domestic solar installations is highly fragmented and is expected to expand significantly from an estimated £1.1bn in 2024 to £1.5bn in 20281 as homeowners and landlords retrofit their properties in order to save energy costs and reduce their environmental impact.

With its heritage as a trusted partner for major home improvement projects and installations, Wickes believes that it is well placed to take a leading share of this growing market and the Solar Fast acquisition enables it to expand its range of Design & Installation services.

David Wood, Chief Executive of Wickes, commented:

"I am delighted to announce our acquisition of a majority stake in Solar Fast, a leading operator in the emerging and exciting market for energy saving solutions. This acquisition enables us to accelerate our Design & Installation growth lever, capitalising on our expertise in installing major home improvement projects.

“The Wickes brand has been trusted by home improvers for over 50 years and with Solar Fast as part of our proposition we will be perfectly placed to support them with their energy saving plans.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome David Draper and his impressive team to the Wickes family and we look forward to delivering our exciting plans together."

David Wood Chief Executive of Wickes

David Draper, Founder and CEO of Solar Fast, commented:

"This is tremendous news for Solar Fast. We're a family business and our vision has always been to become the number one provider in the UK for quality domestic solar installations and with the Wickes brand behind us, we are closer to achieving that vision. I, along with all of the Solar Fast team, are very much looking forward to being part of the Wickes family and to working together to make UK homeowners more energy independent."

David Draper Founder and CEO of Solar Fast

Further information on Solar Fast and the Transaction

The Business will be fully consolidated into Wickes’ accounts upon completion. It is cash generative and profitable and is expected to be immediately accretive to group profits.

Over 2022 and 2023 Solar Fast installed over 3,700 solar projects in customers’ homes. In the twelve months to 30 April 2023 the Business generated revenue of £33.1m and reported profit before tax of £3.9m. The solar market experienced a short-term peak in demand during the energy crisis of 2022/2023 and as such it is anticipated that both market demand and Solar Fast’s revenue will be lower in 2024 before growing again thereafter. As of 30 April 2023 the Business had gross assets of £5.9m and net assets of £3.8m.

Wickes will acquire the 51% equity stake from the Solar Fast founders based on a valuation for 100% of the Business of 7x EBITDA delivered in calendar year 2024, with a minimum valuation for 100% of the Business of £10.0m and a maximum of £36.0m, on a debt-free, cash-free basis. Wickes will pay £5.1m at completion of the Transaction as a minimum payment for the 51% equity stake, with the balance to be paid in early 2025. Wickes will fund the purchase price from existing cash reserves.

Wickes has an option to purchase the remaining 49% of the issued share capital of the Business. This option may be exercised during the five years following completion, in tranches of not less than 10% of the issued share capital, and is based on a pre-agreed valuation based on 6x LTM EBITDA at the time.

The Founder and CEO of the Business, David Draper, will continue to lead the development and growth of the Business in collaboration with the Wickes team, who will help bring the Solar Fast proposition to Wickes customers in store and online.

Since the Business offers financing solutions to customers and is regulated by the FCA, the transaction will be subject to FCA approval. We expect this approval to be granted in the coming weeks.

This announcement should be read in conjunction with Wickes’ full year 2023 results which are also released today.


Investors and Analysts

Holly Grainger

Director of Investor Relations

+44 (0)7341 680426


Lucy Legh, Will Smith

PR Advisers to Wickes

+44 (0)203 805 4822

About Wickes

Wickes is a digitally-led, service-enabled home improvement retailer, delivering choice, convenience, value and best-in-class service to customers across the United Kingdom, making it well placed to outperform its growing markets. In response to gradual structural shifts in its markets over recent years, Wickes has a balanced business focusing on three key customer journeys - TradePro, DIY (together reported as Retail) and our project-based Design & Installation division.

Wickes operates from its network of 229 right-sized stores, which support nationwide fulfilment from convenient locations throughout the United Kingdom, and through its digital channels including its website, TradePro mobile app for trade members, and Wickes DIY app. These digital channels allow customers to research and order an extended range of Wickes products and services, arrange virtual and in-person design consultations, and organise convenient home delivery or click-and-collect.


1) Source: Wood Mackenzie UK PV Capacity Forecast