Three years after watching his automotive tube manufacturing company slip into receivership – forcing Terry Thomson to sell his home – the Scotsman bought it back at a quarter of the price he originally paid for it in 1991. Joining forces with Jasper Pettie, the Thomson Pettie Group has since made five acquisitions in the industrial automotive tubing business, four of them for less than £750k each – and another out of receivership. “You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to make money,” remarks Thomson. “There’s money in good old-fashioned metal bashing.” After an acquisition, key staff are typically replaced with Thomson Pettie’s own, often more junior, staffers. Arguing that it’s easier to run six separate businesses than one big one, each company operates independently. General managers are responsible for their own profit and loss statements. Today the Lanarkshire-based company boasts sales of £5.6m and employs 150 people.
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