A HAMPSHIRE business that manufacturers and installs vehicle livery and commercial graphics has been bought out by its 11-strong management team.

The management of Stewarts Signs at Eastleigh now hold a 59% stake in the business and have plans to expand over the next five years.

The new team plans to double the size of the business by 2022 and create 50 new jobs.

A £3.5m finance package from HSBC made the buy out possible. The remaining 41% of shares have been set aside in an Employee Benefit Trust.

Anthony Townson, managing director at Stewart Signs, said: “This significant funding package from HSBC has given the management team the opportunity to own a majority share of the business, giving greater security to our employees and customers.

"The MBO will help us create long-term value for our partners and build on our 50-year heritage, as well as helping us double turnover to £22 million by 2022.”

Stewarts specialises in branding for the rail industry and has supplied 84 per cent of the UK rail fleet but also supplies, stickers, wrappers and signs to cruise ships, van fleets, and commercial premises.

Anthony Reed, HSBC’s area director in Hampshire and Dorset, commented: “Our long-standing relationship with Stewart Signs stretches back over several decades. In that time, we have worked closely with the management teams, both new and old, and seen the business go from strength to strength in domestic markets and internationally.

"We’ll continue to support Anthony and the wider team during this exciting period and as it embarks on the next stage of its ambitious growth plan.”

The company was founded in 1963 Anthony's father Roy Townson.

It sells to customers in countries across the UK and Europe including Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany.