January 10th, 2020 / Insight posted in Case Studies

Client profile: creating profit pipelines

Moore Kingston Smith client Winn & Coales International shares the story behind its success.

As a British-based business, Winn & Coales International Ltd may not be a household name. However, there can barely be a household in the UK and beyond that does not benefit from what it produces.

This long-standing Moore Kingston Smith client is best known for manufacturing Denso anti-corrosion, waterproofing and sealing products. Its coatings and linings protect oil, gas and water supply pipelines around the world.

And look closely at any footbridge, jetty, tank base or cargo hold and the chances are you’ll find the Denso brand playing a crucial role in keeping its structure durable and safe.

Winn & Coales is a remarkable success story – a family-run business with a 136-year history that continues to enjoy significant growth. Sales figures show an increase in turnover from £51 million to £75 million in the past six years.

Alongside its UK operation, it has a network of subsidiary companies located in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. For this reason, it has particularly welcomed our strengthened global offering through our membership of the Moore network. Indeed UK Finance Director Andrew Sweeney sought our support recently for the appointment of an auditor in Australia. “It took just one call to Moore Kingston Smith to get the ball rolling and, within four weeks, we had a new auditor in place in Melbourne,” he explains. “When you have someone with local contacts able to secure you the best professional advice, it makes all the difference.”

Winn & Coales first encountered Moore Kingston Smith’s Senior Partner Martin Muirhead in 1997. Managing Director Chris Winn says: “We took over a competitor that had Kingston Smith [as the firm then was] as auditors, and we were impressed with what we saw. In the grand scheme of things, we are a small, privately-owned business, but Martin and Matt Meadows at Moore Kingston Smith continue to work hard to understand what we are about, to listen, to be responsive and to offer a business advisory service that consistently goes above and beyond our expectations.”

Winn & Coales was founded in 1883 by Chris’s great-grandfather Paul Winn as an import/export business. He took on the agency for the Germanmanufactured Denso Petrolatum Tape – essentially a bandage impregnated with petroleum jelly in 1929. The impermeable flexible barrier product proved an instant success with the gas and water industries and the company went from strength to strength. In 1946, following Mr Winn’s death, his business partner Frank Coales became the company’s second chairman. Mr Coales served a total of 75 years with the firm and earned a place in The Guinness Book of Records for still being an active chairman on his 100th birthday. He died aged 102 in 1991 and was succeeded by the third and current chairman David Winn OBE.

Mr Winn, who is Paul Winn’s grandson, is credited with growing Winn & Coales internationally. Today, after 54 years of service, he continues to work four days a week. His son Chris came on board 29 years ago, beginning on the factory floor and working his way up, via lab assistant and export sales roles, to the position of managing director in 2008.

Both father and son put the success of the business down to investment in research, development of new technologies and organic growth of sales and markets. “We have stuck to what we know best,” says David. “But we have always looked to diversify and to find different applications for our products, which is why Denso is, to this day, a global best seller. People don’t talk about taping pipes, they talk about Denso-ing them.”

There is another key factor to the success of Winn & Coales. “We greatly value our people, many of whom have been with us for decades – up to 60 years!” says Chris.

“We set aside funds to support our staff and their dependants when they are in need. As a family business, we operate with family values. And, like Moore Kingston Smith, we also understand the importance of trust and integrity in business relationships and seek always to maintain an open dialogue with our customers.”