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Will King's business to break new ground

PUBLISHED: 09:36 23 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:21 06 July 2010

ENTREPRENEUR Will King is to break new commercial ground by raising £5m for his King of Shaves business by offering customers the chance to buy savings bonds.

ENTREPRENEUR Will King is to break new commercial ground by raising £5m for his King of Shaves business by offering customers the chance to buy savings bonds.

Mr King, who started the business in 1993 by mixing his own shaving oil at home in Lowestoft, plans to issue £1,000 bonds and pay savers 6pc interest-a-year for three years.

The fund-raising move is believed to be the first of its kind by a consumer brand in the UK. It also comes a year after Mr King launched a new "Azor" razor.

Mr King said he first had the "shave and save" idea four years ago and now wanted customers to share in the success of his £30m-a-year brand and help to "spread the word" about the company and its products.

"We're repeatedly approached by private equity and venture capital who want to invest in the business," Mr King said.

"Their view of investing is wanting a three to five times return, ideally within three years. After 16 years of building the foundations and a year after launching the Azor, I know where I'm going with this brand and business - and their investment dynamic doesn't fit with where I want to take the business.

"There has also been a lot of interest from big corporate plcs who want to invest. But that would align us to their agenda. In this way, I can basically say to people 'spread the word if you believe this is a good product'.

"I'd rather have 5,000 individual partners out there helping me get to a goal than one structural partner with all of the terms and conditions, covenants, service agreements and expectations of what they are going to get out of it - come what may - within three years.

"If this way works and our sales grow, it's a better way. It's family."

Mr King said that if the bond-issue - which will be overseen by the accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward - is oversubscribed, the 5,000 savers would be selected by postcode to give a "good geographical spread" across the UK.

"Typically companies like mine are started off by investments from friends and family," he said.

"They then grow a momentum. This is an extension of that - offering a chance to people who get the King of Shaves every morning and who are an extension of my friends and family. This is an opportunity for them to share in our success."

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