Sale of the Flash Centre puts Lumesca Group in the Picture

One of Yorkshire best known photographic retailers, The Flash Centre, Leeds, has been sold in a deal brokered by Yorkshire accountants and business advisers, Garbutt + Elliott.

The family-owned studio lighting specialist, founded in London 40 years ago to import Elinchrom professional photographic studio flash technology for the growing UK photography market, has been acquired by Birmingham-based Lumesca Group Ltd for a substantial but undisclosed sum.

The deal allows The Flash Centre managing director, Chris Whittle,  who acquired the business from his father, Malcolm, in 1989, and other family shareholders, to exit the £3.5m annual turnover business, which has 23 full and part-time staff at its three shops in Leeds, Birmingham and London,

Founded in 1980, Photographic Studio Consultants Ltd (PSC), which trades as The Flash Centre, expanded its product range to include other well-known photographic equipment brands and to offer rental, repairs and training as well as traditional retail and online sales.

LUMESCA Group Ltd, was founded as TypeMaker Ltd, in Birmingham in 1986 to support the computer-based design and publishing market, which was just taking off.

The company became an image manipulation software developer and introduced colour management technology. An early ecommerce exponent, LUMESCA Group expanded its presence throughout Europe, selling to both end-users and resellers.

Lumesca group managing director, Geoffrey Clements,  says: “The Flash Centre, with established trade outlets, successful ecommerce and leading distribution brands, an experienced team and customer relationships of more than 30 years, is a great addition to our business.

“As we continue to grow in the photographic sector, there are many synergies with our other businesses and the addition of the Elinchrom studio and location lighting range, along with innovative lighting accessories, speedlights, triggers and video LED panels, complement our offering.”

Chris Whittle, a Garbutt + Elliott client, sought help in selling the business as part of a retirement plan. Garbutt + Elliott partner Tariq Javaid and assistant corporate finance manager, Tom Hartley, researched and identified potential buyers, prepared a sales memorandum and marketing material, and, after Lumesca expressed interest, negotiated the financial deal. Corporate partner, at LCF Law, Susan Clark, handled legal aspects of the transaction for Chris Whittle.

Chris Whittle says: “The best customer service has always been at the heart of The Flash Centre. We supply only products that we would use and many of our customers have become family friends.

“Joining forces with LUMESCA broadens our specialisations from creative light and image capture to include critical colour management and optimised image output.

“We are grateful to Garbutt + Elliott for its expertise in all aspects of a sale which gives the best possible opportunity to further develop The Flash Centre brand and its staff.”

Tariq Javaid says: “The Flash centre is a well-known with a national customer base so our strategy was to find a buyer with the best fit for business development and we  achieved this with Lumesca which gains bases in Yorkshire and London while providing Chris Whittle and his family shareholders with a purchase price which rewards them for 40 years of hard work developing the business.”

Garbutt + Elliott’s corporate team, incorporating its award-winning tax team, has three partners and two directors and works nationally across a broad commercial spectrum from its offices in York and Leeds.