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2M Chosen as an official distributor in the UK for Dow Europe

2M Holdings Ltd (“2M”) is proud to have been chosen as an official distributor in the UK for Dow Europe, covering their range of specialty solvents, ethanolamine and chelates. The extensive product list includes Dow’s leading brands DOWANOL™ E-Series, P-Series as well as VERSENE ™ VERSENOL ™ and CARBOWAX ™ Poly Ethylene Glycols.

2M will distribute Dow’s products through its group of leading brand companies, predominately Banner Chemicals and Surfachem.  Banner Chemicals provides services primarily to customers in paint and coating applications and Surfachem focuses on personal care, cleaning, hygiene and pharmaceuticals.

The 2M group of companies provides customers with market leading commercial and technical expertise. This includes its application laboratories, technical teams, blending, storage and samples management services.

2M’s focus is on added value supply of products and applications based on know-how from the world’s leading chemical companies.

2M’s subsidiary, Banner Chemicals, Finalist for International Trade Awards 2016


2M Holdings are delighted to announce that its subsidiary, Banner Chemicals is a Finalist for the International Trade Award at the Chemicals Northwest Awards 2016.

The International Trade Award recognises Export achievements in the Chemical Industry and is sponsored by the UKTI.

Dr Maggie Kessler, Export Director at 2M said:

‘This award nomination comes at a very special time for the export team: As the world’s sole owner of Triklone and Perklone, which have been exceptionally successful export products, we are excited to launch our newest addition of Methylene Chloride Prime to our international customers; Compliant with Pharmaceutical Food and Feed requirements’

Since its founding in 2004, 2M has grown its export reach from selling largely within the UK to exporting to over 80 countries. Headquartered in the UK, 2M has locations in China, Benelux, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia, and Brazil.

Banner Chemicals also won the Chemicals Northwest Health, Safety and Environment Award in 2015 for their special initiative in ensuring safer packaging practices along the supply chain, in accordance with the ADR regulations for appropriate ullage space, preventing leakage during transit or storage.

Mottie Kessler, the Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings, was named the Global Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (IoD) NW UK 2015, in recognition of 2M’s export achievements.

Mottie Kessler In the IoD Director Magazine


Following his Director of the Year Award in 2015, 2M’s chairman and CEO was profiled in the IoD’s Director Magazine in January 2016.

Today we meet Mottie Kessler, chairman, founder and CEO, of 2M Holdings, who won the Mid-Market Director award…

Mottie Kessler, chairman, founder and CEO, 2M Holdings

Providing chemical distribution and related chemical services, 2M Holdings prides itself on supporting sustainable growth for other companies. Ten years ago, it faced closure; since then it has tripled sales and acquired a raft of other businesses. So what informs Mottie Kessler’s highly successful approach?

What inspires you as a businessman? Stories of leadership and determination were plentiful when I was growing up – Mandela, JFK, Martin Luther King.

What’s been the most pivotal moment in your business journey? Buying my first company, Banner Chemicals, a business of 150 years’ history and then being told I had to close or relocate it, seven months after the purchase, to make way for the London Olympics. Rather than take the ‘quick cash’ out, I decided to relocate to the north of England.

Best business advice? My parents told me that educating yourself, and persistence, can lead you anywhere you want.

What’s the secret of your success? Continuous learning of the business environment, sharing knowledge with the team, persistence and delegating. And having a great partner – my wife – for both life and business.

Who is your most inspirational business person? Warren Buffet – he just keeps on growing his businesses and the sky is the limit for him.

How and where do you network? In both local and global business circles. For example, I’m a member of the IoD and YPO-WPO, a global organisation [of business leaders]. ‘Glocalization’ is an increasing reality, so sharing ideas with people locally and from all over the world is natural and crucial.

What should government do for business in 2016? Reduce red tape and support science-based businesses.

What’s the best business book you have read? Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

2M Holdings vital stats

Business – 2M Holdings is a provider of chemical distribution and related services for purposes including emissions reduction and water purification.

HQ – Runcorn, Cheshire Staff 230.

Growth – The company has made 10 acquisitions in 10 years.

History – Founded by Kessler in 2004, 2M Holdings’ long-term aim is to grow an international chemicals distribution and services portfolio. Its HQ is in the UK and it has a presence in China, Benelux, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia and Brazil.

Financial highlights – Turnover has risen 300 per cent in the past decade to around £110m.

Mottie Kessler is a fellow of the IoD and member of IoD Central London


What the sponsor said…

The UK mid-market is the powerhouse of the UK economy, providing over one-third of GDP, revenues and employment despite making up less than two per cent of all businesses*. Their contribution is crucial to the ongoing growth of the UK economy. The GE Capital Mid-Market Director of the Year award recognises the leaders of this incredibly important business segment.

Here at GE Capital, we were impressed by the passion, commitment and leadership shown by all of the entrants to this award. Equally notable was their commitment to staff, local communities and the towns and cities they operate in. Congratulations to our winner Mottie Kessler


2M give Young People a helping hand into STEM careers, to strengthen our industry

Overcoming the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills shortage is vital to the health and survival of our industry. As a business with over 150 years’ history, we care about the long term.

2M Holdings therefore pursued a four-pronged approach in 2015 across our sites to ensure young people at each stage of early adulthood through to working age, have access to a career in Science and are inspired to join our industry.

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2M Holdings support initiative to get more school children into Science

2M Holdings was proud to support the Catalyst museum once again, to help get more children interested in the Sciences and to increase the number of pupils choosing Science at A-level.

‘The UK currently has too few Science A-Level applicants but it’s a trend we can change if we, as an industry, help. I started my own career with a degree in Chemical Engineering and it’s an opportunity I would like to ensure more school leavers have’ said Mottie Kessler, Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings.

Mottie built 2M Holdings into a portfolio of 6 companies with international locations ranging from Scandinavia to Brazil. He was recently recognised for his contributions to Manufacturing in the North by EY, who named him Entrepreneur of the Year.

Jim Bell, Dispersions Development Manager and Specialty Chemicals expert at Banner Chemicals, a 2M Holdings Company, spent a day with pupils from the North West of England. Engaging them in hands-on experiments, Jim captured their interest by showing how Chemistry could be used for exciting applications with every-day significance:

“I really enjoyed presenting to the groups of pupils as it reminded me of being at school myself, being interested in science and just not knowing about all the options available to me. They asked a lot of questions so it was great to spark their enthusiasm.”

In one of two experiment, pupils, wearing nitrile gloves, handled an iPhone which they had previously coated with a water-based optical brightener solution.
The ‘detectives’ could then show who had handled the box by illuminating their hands under a UV black light, demonstrating how UV light can show the presence of an invisible marker (anti-theft product).

Invisible Marker Experiment

The anti-theft invisible marker experiment

Clare Hampson, Education Manager at the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre said:

“Jim delivered a fascinating interactive session. Pupils saw science in action outside the classroom and were inspired to think about how studying science could help them in their future careers.”

Mottie Kessler Wins Director of the Year 2015 for UK Mid-Market Enterprise


Chairman and CEO of 2M Group of Companies, Mottie Kessler, wins national award from the Institute of Directors
We are delighted to announce that 2M Holdings’ Chairman and CEO, Mottie Kessler, has been awarded the UK’s Mid-Market Enterprise Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Mottie Kessler Mid-Market Enterprise Director IoD

Mottie Kessler wins Director of the Year

Upon receiving the award, Mottie said:

‘Chemicals are the building blocks of everything we need for our daily lives and they are critical in making our world cleaner, safer and healthier. I am very proud to be recognised for this award, on behalf of my colleagues in the chemical industry and our 2M companies teams. This achievement would not have been possible without the immense support of Dr Kessler, my wife and my business partner’

The IoD Director of the Year Awards, which were held in a prestigious London location on Friday 23rd October, celebrate the best of the best across UK businesses and directors at the forefront of leadership excellence.

In March 2015, Mottie Kessler also was named Global Director of the Year for the North West of the UK, a prestigious award which was supported by the UK Trade and Industry association. Mottie was also a Finalist for Science & Innovation Director of 2015.

Mottie Kessler Wins IoD Global Director of the Year

IoD Award Kessler-2M Stowers UKTI-2015  (640x567)

L-R: Mottie Kessler, Dr Maggie Kessler, Paul Stowers – Deputy Regional Director, UKTI NW

M003extrasmallottie Kessler – Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings & Dr Maggie Kessler – Global / export director for Triklone / Perklone products , with Paul Stowers – Deputy Regional Director at UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) North West.

We are proud that Mottie Kessler, the Chairman and CEO of 2M Holdings, has been named the Global Director of the Year by the Institute of Directors (IoD) NW UK.

Mottie was also a Finalist for IoD’s Science & Innovation Director of the Year.

The IoD Director of the Year Awards celebrates the best of the best across British businesses and directors at the forefront of leadership excellence.

2M Holdings has customers worldwide and is head-quartered in the UK and with subsidiaries in: China, Benelux, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia and Brazil. The group exports to customers in over 75 countries.

The Global Director Award was supported by UK Trade & Investment.

IoD-Winner Finalist

Mottie Kessler is the proud winner of the IoD Global Director of the Year award.

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Mottie Kessler: Building a Giant Quietly

As featured in Business Insider 2015

Mottie Kessler isn’t a loud entrepreneur, but his calm and measured delivery is underpinned by sharp focus and vision. Over a decade, chemicals conglomerate 2M has made its ascent, bringing together seven companies as part of a buy-and-build strategy. The group now has a £110m turnover, selling into 75 countries. And it all started with a phone call.


Mottie Kessler, Chairman, CEO and Founder of 2M Holdings

“Petroferm acquired Banner Chemicals in 1999 and after five years decided they wanted to get out of chemical distribution,” he says. “They called me and asked if I knew anyone who wanted to buy the business. I thought it was an opportunity to build something independent.”

At the time, Kessler, a former chemicals engineer, was working for the American industrial gas company Praxair, but saw a gap in the market to apply strategy and management practice from big companies into smaller, privately owned businesses, without losing their dynamism.

Banner Chemicals, a supplier of solvents based in Runcorn, was the first deal and 2M was born in 2004. Kessler co-founded the company with Ieuan Thomas and borrowed money from RBS to get up and running. The plan was to build a series of internationally branded chemicals distribution and service companies, building on expertise and the potential for exports.

Then came a knock on the door. The London Development Agency (LDA) wanted Banner’s storage site in East London as part of the Olympic Park development and gave him a year to find another site. It was tempting to cash out on the deal, pay down the debt and walk away, but Kessler hadn’t even got started. “I didn’t leave a public company, to risk my own money in a 100-year-old business, just to close it down,” he says.

He relocated Banner’s facility to Middlesbrough, acquired MP Storage and invested £5m on the site. The deal with the LDA was done and the money used to pay down the original debt. The show could go on.

“People remembered it as the place they’d get shouted at. I said ‘I’m not shouting, that’s not the culture here.’”

In 2007, the deal to buy Surfachem, based in Leeds, came across Kessler’s desk and took the business into household cleaning and personal care. This time it was Yorkshire Bank that stepped up to the plate.

img-02Kessler says: “Both companies were doing well. Our strategy is not turnaround; it’s to identify a good business and make it excellent.” This is the holy grail of buy-and-build, but it’s not always achieved because of difficulties integrating cultures, making efficiencies and enough profit.

In 2M, the businesses remain standalone, but speak to each other and share expertise. Kessler likens it to “a large army with smaller commander units”. He says: “We have small dedicated groups operating as profit centres. They manage their relationships with suppliers and will have sales teams focused on their industry.

“The common denominator is the infrastructure behind that: manufacturing, laboratories and sharing of product know-how. This enables these businesses to operate on a daily basis without the interference of the 2M board.”

This is important to Kessler, who is trying to move to a model whereby decision-making is delegated. An open culture is important, he says, to enable people to speak out and identify where improvements could have been made. The transparency also allows business directors to see how other areas are performing and provide feedback.

“Before I acquired it, Banner Chemicals was centrally run, autocratic, with less freedom of decision-making,” he says. “When we converted the old chairman’s room into a boardroom, people used to feel uncomfortable because they remembered it as the place they would get shouted at and told where they were going wrong. I said: ‘I’m not shouting, that’s not the culture here.’”

Kessler adds: “There is no way you can grow your business without empowering people. You have to give them the tools; it’s about working with the people that are there and helping them. Of all the companies we have acquired, two people have left.”

“The expectation is to list 25 per cent of the company on AIM and use the proceeds to support acquisitions.”

The other side of this coin is technology, which enables what he calls the flow of information around the business. “On a practical basis you can call me more of a business development manager,” he says. “While everyone is focusing on their area, I see my role as helping to shape the strategy, and looking around the world to see where we can grow. There is an ongoing inflow of information. It takes me less than five minutes in the morning and the evening to know how the business is performing and if there are any alarm signs.”

This way of doing business looks to be working. 2M has since acquired a packed chlorine business from Ineos and Leicester-based chemicals supplier Stowlin Croftshaw. The group also owns West Sample Right, based in West Yorkshire.

EBITDA is north of £7m and is continually reinvested. While 60 per cent of the growth has come from acquisitions, 40 per cent has been organic.

mk-feature-smallIn his own, measured way, Kessler is “quite pleased” with the group’s performance. He’s bought out his business partner in 2012, with the backing of Investec, and owns more than 90 per cent of the shares.

The company has extended its international footprint considerably, with people on the ground in three continents, and he’s got his eye on 12 companies at the moment. This will likely result in two or three deals in as many years, before he plans to float the company. Like I said, he’s focused.

“The expectation is to list 25 per cent of the company on AIM on day one and use the proceeds to support acquisitions already targeted,” he says. “Within five years, we’ll reduce the holding from 75 per cent to 25 per cent.” And here comes the big ambition: “There is no reason why £110m won’t be a £1bn.”

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About 2M Holdings

As featured in Chemicals North West 2015


MP Storage & Blending facility in Middlesbrough with onsite Laboratory

2M Holdings was founded by Mottie Kessler in 2004, the present Chairman and CEO, with a long term objective to grow an international chemicals distribution portfolio based on excellent companies with strong brands. 

2m-advert-small2M Holdings includes a portfolio of branded companies of chemical distribution and related chemical services of sample management, storage and blending.

2M Holdings has customers worldwide and is headquartered in the UK and with subsidiaries in: China, Benelux, Ireland, Poland, Scandinavia and Brazil.

2M Holdings’ business focus is on automotive, precision cleaning, coating, emission reduction AdBlue, oil-field & refineries, flavours & fragrances and surfactants for: personal-care, household & industrial hygiene cleaning and pharmaceuticals.

2M Holdings Companies produce AdBlue, SamSol Products, Packed Chlorine (cylinders and drums) and TRIKLONE™ & PERKLONE™ (Chlorinated Solvents).

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Banner Chemicals win Health, Safety and Environment Award

As featured in FECC Newletter March/April 2015

Stephen James, MD of Witt Obrien’s Ltd, the sponsors of the Health & Safety Award and David Dalton, Group Compliance Director for Banner Chemicals and its parent company, 2M Holdings Ltd

Stephen James, MD of Witt Obrien’s Ltd, the sponsors of the Health & Safety Award and David Dalton, Group Compliance Director for Banner Chemicals and its parent company, 2M Holdings Ltd

Banner Chemicals, one of 2M’s subsidiaries, has won the Health, Safety & Environment Award by Chemicals Northwest.

The award is for Banner Chemicals’ special initiative in ensuring safer packaging practices along the supply chain, in accordance with the ADR regulations for appropriate ullage space, preventing leakage during transit or storage. The initiative goes further than regulatory requirements, by extending the principles to chemicals that are not classified as hazardous. This extension is in line with 2M Group’s mission to improve the public perception of the Chemical Industry.

Banner Chemicals’ initiative has included writing guidelines for the Solvent Industry Association (SIA), to ensure smaller businesses also have access to Best Practice information with examples of commonly used solvents in different drum sizes.

David Dalton, Group Compliance Director for Banner Chemicals and its parent company, 2M Holdings Ltd, said:

Chemicals-North-West and SIA“We are all ambassadors for the Chemical Industry and take Health and Safety very seriously – it is our responsibility to share our expertise where we can and we work extensively with the SIA and other organisations to do that.”

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