finnCap Ambition Nation Listed 50: in conversation with Tristel CEO Paul Swinney

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finnCap ambition nation conversation with Tristel CEO Paul Swinney

In 2018, renowned financial advisor finnCap launched Ambition Nation; a platform for innovative, high growth companies to showcase their success stories and discuss the challenges of the modern business landscape. While the world has undergone dramatic changes in the last few years, the appetite for sharing knowledge and recognising successful businesses has not wavered.

The finnCap Ambition Nation Listed 50 is a prestigious collection of leading smaller UK-listed companies that offer the best blend of growth and quality as ranked by finnCap’s equity analysis tool, The Slide Rule. Each week, finnCap will speak to CEOs and leaders from some of these 50 companies leading up to the Awards at the end of October.

These stories will provide stories of inspiration, growth and the key decisions that went into shaping their business. In the driving seat this week, is Paul Swinney, CEO of Tristel; a manufacturer of infection control, contamination control and hygiene products.

Over the past 27 years, Tristel has become a pioneer in its industry, boasting a 150 person-strong workforce across the globe. In this candid conversation, Paul talks about the challenges of becoming a publicly-traded company, trading globally, sustainability and much more.

Watch the discussion with Paul Swinney, CEO of Tristel, here


Here’s what was covered in the conversation:

  • Introduction to Tristel (0:50)
  • What was it about the Tristel technology that was a bit different? (1:44)
  • You founded your company in 1993 and floated it in 2005, what growth inflection point really stands out on that whole ride? (2:27)
  • Why did you choose to float the company? (4:06)
  • When you saying acting like a public company what do you mean? (4:55)
  • You’ve talked about “growing up” when becoming a listed company, does it come with other benefits that you’ve really seen? (6:15)
  • What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the past 27 years? (6:46)
  • Did you ever think you might be looking at the end of your business? (7:50)
  • As a company in a very competitive market, how do you choose to double-down and keep going or whether to do something different? (8:33)
  • How has COVID-19 affected your business? (9:20)
  • What challenges have come with the hyper-growth of your company? (10:08)
  • You have a company spread out over several countries across the globe, how do you retain and build culture in an organisation when you are distant? (10:51)
  • You’ve mentioned that your companies values include qualities like generosity and kindness, do your individual shareholders just want to see the numbers or is there a sense that they are on a similar wave-length? (11:44)
  • You’ve got a lot of stakeholders internally and externally, to what extent do you feel in the driving seat in your role as the CEO? (12:40)
  • You have subsidiaries all over the world, how does Tristel look fitting into that global environment particularly in the next few years? (13:36)
  • 60% of your sales are coming from outside the UK, where are the largest part of your sales coming from and why? (13:55)
  • Something that’s been on all of our minds as we use wipes and disinfections is are we accidentally trashing the planet as we use all of these products? (15:06)
  • Tristel clearly cares about looking after the planet. At the end of the day, you have a lot of shareholders, you need to deliver financial returns. Do you ever find those two things in conflict with each other? (17:38)
  • How have your growth plans changed over the last year? (18:03)
  • What advice would you give yourself in 1993 as you embark on your journey? (18:52)

finnCap advise ambitious companies and promote their stories to find the right investment for growth. They also help these companies access the growth capital that’s right for them. See the finnCap website for information.

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