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Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 15.24.41Canine kit specialist Accapi Group has extended its European distribution deal with a premium US dogwear firm, quadrupling the value of its contract to £20m after seeing huge success during its initial phase.

County Durham-based Accapi initially agreed a £5m deal with Ruffwear – a leading performance dog gear brand, which makes technical harnesses, jackets, collars, leads, boots and backpacks for dogs – in 2013, which saw them distributing their equipment across 23 countries.

Now, on the back of huge success and soaraway sales, Accapi Group have renegotiated a five-year agreement as the brand’s exclusive European distributor only 18 months into the initial contract, with the value of the deal for Accapi increasing to £20m.

The deal paves the way for further growth for Accapi, based in Stanley, with the business now looking to establish its own online presence in 23 countries across Europe – which alone has 61 million dogs and a pet services industry worth 30 billion Euros – and add key new senior people to its team to support its commercial strategy.

Accapi was set up in 2010 by serial entrepreneur George Heydon – well known for being behind numerous successful North East businesses – and co-owner Andrew Geere, a former senior figure at both Barbour and Berghaus.

The business initially sold specialist sports apparel, but has since moved on to pet products, acting as distributor to a number of dog accessory brands – including Kurgo and Planet Dog – to allow dog owners to take their dogs on all manner of outdoor activities including trekking and trail running.

The agreement of the Ruffwear deal was done with legal support from Newcastle law firm Sintons, with Adrian Dye and Emma Pern acting for the business.

George Heydon – who recently added Felling-based third generation brick business W. McGovern & Co to his wide-ranging business portfolio – said: “Due to the impact we have made in the first 18 months of our relationship with Ruffwear and the success we have had with sales, we have been able to negotiate this fantastic deal.

“The Accapi team have worked very hard to get to where we are now and there are definitely exciting times ahead for us. Ruffwear is the number one dog accessory brand in the world- our mission is to ensure every dog owner is aware of Ruffwear, understands its tremendous attributes and purchases it.”

Chief executive Andrew Geere added: “There are huge opportunities for the brand across Europe and to make Ruffwear into a truly global brand. The sales growth of brand and increased brand equity during the past 18 months has been significant and the new agreement helps to demonstrate the value that Accapi adds.”

Adrian Dye, Partner in the Corporate and Commercial team at Sintons, said: “It is testament to the work and quality of Accapi that a brand like Ruffwear has sought to get back round the table early with them, securing a five-year deal at four times the value of the previous agreement. It is fantastic to hear of North East businesses achieving such international success.

“George and Andrew know and understand the sector like few others, and with Accapi have created a real business success story. We are delighted to continue to work with them.”

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