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Who is Charlie Mullins? Tycoon sells Pimlico Plumbers to US group

Wales Online logo Wales Online 21/09/2021 Tom Blackburn

Plumbing firm Pimlico Plumbers has been sold to US group Neighborly in a deal expected to net its founder, Charlie Mullins, around £110 million.

Mullins owns a 90% stake in the company which he will sell as part of the arrangement. The deal is thought to be worth between £125 million and £145 million, says the Financial Times.

His son, Scott Mullins, will retain his stake of around 10% and stay on as the company’s chief executive.

Read more: Will Evergrande default? Fears grow for Chinese property giant

A flamboyant figure known to court controversy, Charlie Mullins is a familiar face on TV and in the press. But just who is he, and how did he rise to prominence in UK business?

Who is Charlie Mullins?

Born in 1952, Charlie Mullins is a businessman and the founder of Pimlico Plumbers, which he set up at the age of 27 in 1979.

Mullins, who grew up on the Rockingham Estate in Elephant and Castle, east London, left school with no qualifications aged 15 and then began working as a plumber.

Pimlico Plumbers now employs around 400 workers, making about £50 million in revenue annually.

Though a former Conservative donor, Mullins broke with the party over Brexit, which he vehemently opposed. In 2018, he revealed he was donating to the Liberal Democrats.

Mullins ruffled feathers in August 2020, when he appeared live on ITV’s This Morning from the grounds of his villa in Marbella, Spain, to demand that the UK government’s furlough scheme be closed down.

Who’s buying Pimlico Plumbers?

Pimlico Plumbers has been bought by Neighborly, a US home services franchise operator.

The firm has more than 4,500 franchises operating in nine countries and services more than 10 million commercial and residential customers.

Neighborly itself was only recently bought out - just two months ago - by KKR, a private equity firm, from investment group Harvest Partners.

Charlie Mullins told the BBC that the deal would allow Pimlico Plumbers to expand into overseas markets, and that he would use his own proceeds from the buyout to fund music promotion and foreign property ventures.

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