Durbin Plc wins Coutts Prize for Family Business

Durbin Plc wins Coutts Prize for Family Business

Harrow based specialist pharmaceutical and medical supplies distributor named ‘Best UK Family Business, London and Greater London Region, £5-25m turnover category’

Durbin PLC from Harrow, has been named ‘Best UK Family Business, London and Greater London Region’, in the £5-25m turnover category of the Coutts Prize for Family Business 2008/9. The company will now go on to compete in the same category at the national finals to be held in central London on 23rd June 2009.

Specialist pharmaceutical and medical supplies distributor, Durbin PLC were formed in 1963. Today, the company has 80 members of staff, and ships to over 180 counties around the world, aiming to be a one stop shop for their clients. Over the last four years, Durbin Plc has donated a large sum of money to the Morgan Charitable Foundation as well as spending a large amount of time, sourcing excess stock that still has plenty of shelf life from pharmaceutical companies, to donate to overseas charities.

David Molian, Regional Chairman of the evaluation committee commented:
“As a successful first generation family business, which wonderfully combines business pragmatism with good old-fashioned philanthropy, the things that impressed the evaluation committee about Durbin PLC included;

• their ability to clearly define roles and responsibilities for family and non-family directors

• the encouragement given to the next generation to gain external experience before rotating through the different divisions of the company

• the family ethos of ‘saving lives by saving time’ and the use of key performance indicators

• the creative approach to charitable initiatives and the establishment of a charitable foundation.”

Juliette Johnson, Senior Family Business Adviser, Coutts & Co added ” We’re delighted to provide recognition to this special family business and showcase their achievements for the benefit of other family businesses. What really shines through is the strength of the family’s values. These influence how and why things get done and act as the glue binding the family and business together. These strong values, coupled with their conservative approach and long term planning, should give them the best possible chance to weather this current economic downturn.”

With the current economic downturn, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to survive, which therefore increases the value of recognising these family businesses and their work. The companies that scored most highly were the ones that were able to give examples of what they had achieved.

Mark Evans, Head of Family Business, Coutts & Co, commented: “Success factors that can help family businesses adapt to the current economic downturn are at the heart of the fourth Coutts Prize for Family Business. It will be equally important to take active steps to manage the family as well as the business to survive the current recession.”

The Coutts Prize for Family Business recognises the best run family businesses in England and Wales, and is the only regional and national awards programme in England and Wales celebrating the overall best performing small, medium-sized and large family businesses. The Prize, compliments Coutts successful Forum for Family Business Owners that is held throughout the UK.

The Coutts Prize recognises firms in three categories (£1m-5m, £5m-£25m, £25m+) that demonstrate a combination of high standards of family governance and corporate governance, a competitive market position, consistent financial growth, and a track record of charitable giving or involvement in local community. Entrants must be companies or firms where two or more family members together have control of over 25% of the voting shares and consider themselves as a family business.

More specifically, the independent evaluation committee was looking for examples of best practice including;

• the strength of the family’s values;
• the involvement of the family;
• communication and planning;
• the separation of ‘ownership’ and ‘management’;
• the use of external, independent advice;
• the development of a succession planning process;
• next generation development;
• conflict management; and
• philanthropy and charitable involvement.

The independent evaluation committee is overseen by Roger Pedder, former Chairman, between 1993 and 2006, of C&J Clark Ltd (Clark Shoes), one of the UK’s largest private family companies. It was established in 1825 and is in its sixth generation. Clarks is the leading shoe retailer and brand in the UK and has significant positions in North American, European and Far Eastern markets. Roger remains Chairman or Non-Executive Director of several private family and private equity backed companies and runs his own company, Fullzone Limited

The evaluation committee for the London and Greater London region includes: David Molian, Lecturer, Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurial Performance and Economics; Peter Bishop, Deputy Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce; Clare Brooks, Director, Network Development, Community Foundation Network; William Notcutt, Deputy Chairman, Notcutts; Farouq Sheikh, Founder and Executive Chairman, CareTech Holdings plc; Chris Swaffin-Smith, Principal, Family Business Reflections; Andrew Wates, Chairman, Wates Group.

Renowned cartoonist, Robert Duncan, will create a unique cartoon for each of the winners, to tell their own story. The cartoons are framed by second generation family business John Jones. Silver plaques are made by third generation family business, Piccadilly Jewellers of Birmingham.

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