King of Shaves turns to customers offering 6%

Tuesday, 23 June 2009 06:22

King of Shaves is offering customers the chance to invest up to £5,000 in the firm with a bond offering six per cent.

A total of 5,000 £1,000 bonds are being issued - to raise £5 million - with consumers allowed a maximum of five bonds.

The bond comes with a coupon of six per cent - and although named a Shavings Bond - is not a saving bond as investors are putting their cash in the firm and risking it.

Will King, chief executive of King of Shaves, said his aim was for King of Shaves to be worth £1 billion - compared to its competitor Gillette which is worth some £57 billion.

"I am not after people's life savings to risk with me," he said. "Just a £1,000. It is about the brand and being inclusive with customers."

Mr King said he could have raised funds in more traditional ways from private equity but chose to go to the firm's customers - explaining the deal was "a hybrid" between promotion and gaining investment.

"I have no idea [about how successful it will be]," he said.

Since the launch of King of Shaves Azor a year ago, the firm has taken a ten per cent share in the market for razor handles, and the cash is set to be used to "take on the might of Proctor & Gamble".

Mr King added he hoped investors in the brand - which grabs fans as much as customers - would also work as mobile marketers spreading their enthusiasm for the firm.

"These shaving bond holders will be fantastic brand ambassadors, spreading the word of mouth world-wide," Mr King said.

Mr King is now looking to a launch in the US, Japan, Brazil and South Africa.

Consumers need to be aware that investing in the 'shaving bond' they do not have the same protection in place as with a standard savings product.

You are investing in the company, and so are not protected if things go wrong by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme as you would with a savings bond in a bank or building society.

This added risk is one reason the coupon on the bond of six per cent is higher than savings accounts.

Mark Dampier, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdowne, advises consumers to do their homework about the bond.

"If it truly is six per cent, it sounds ok, but it is not mouth-watering. Retail customers may think it is compared to cash rates."

He added corporate bond fund managers do a lot of work ensuring what they are buying, and "I'm not sure if this is something retail customers would do," and there are funds offering over six per cent while also diversifying risk across a number of firms.

Mr Dampier said King of Shaves may well be getting "the funding on the cheap at six per cent" with a number of corporate bonds being issued with eight or nine per cent coupons.

Cash is paid out every six months, and investors are also offered products and , a mirror-finish 'Shaving Bond' certificate.

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