The Manchester office of LDC has provided follow-on funding to support portfolio business Kirona Group’s acquisition of Xmbrace Limited, the market leading provider of dynamic scheduling software to the U.K. social housing sector.
The deal represents Cheshire-based Kirona’s first acquisition since LDC invested in the business in November 2011, backing the management team’s focus on organic growth alongside a targeted acquisition strategy.
It is also the third bolt-on for a portfolio company funded by LDC’s North West team this year, following Direct Group’s acquisitions of Circuit UK and Simple Insurance, to sit alongside four new investments in the region in 2012 to date comprising Airline Services, TD Travel Group, Bifold Group and Metronet (UK).
Kirona, which is headquartered in Alderley Edge, develops field force automation (“FFA”) software solutions for a wide range of industries across the public and private sectors. It employs 33 people and has 220+ customers across a range of U.K. and international markets, which operate the software daily.
The firm’s applications maximise companies’ productivity by connecting clients, offices and field workers in near real time. Its software, which can be integrated with all major back-office and mobile operating systems, delivers proven efficiencies across the mobile workforce.
The business offers its technology through leading resellers and distributors, including BT, Vodafone, IDOX PLC and Northgate Information Solutions, in addition to its own direct sales operation.
Founded in 2001, Xmbrace supplies dynamic scheduling software to local authorities, registered social landlords and private maintenance contractors for responsive repair operations. The Watford-based company, which has been a Kirona partner since 2006, employs 35 people.
Xmbrace’s solutions integrate call centre, housing administration, works order management and mobile systems to allow organisations operating in the social housing sector to seamlessly handle tenants’ service requests. Key benefits include improved appointments scheduling and confirmation, together with improved mobile workforce efficiency and reduced administration costs.
We will continue to support Kirona’s organic growth, built on ‘best in class’ technical expertise and leading customer service
The transaction positions Kirona Group to provide a wholly owned and integrated solution encompassing a comprehensive dynamic booking system alongside market leading FFA software modules to clients across the private and public sectors.
David Murray, Managing Director at Kirona, said: “Having partnered with Xmbrace since 2006, we fully recognise the market leading nature of its software, as well as the business’ driven management team, unrivalled presence in the social housing sector and significant technical expertise.”
“The deal will allow us to work with partners of both businesses to provide differentiated, dynamic scheduling systems, and integrated support services which deliver even greater return on investment for our expanding client base.”
“We remain committed to building the market leading integrated solutions provider in the high growth FFA sub-sector. This is an area which is undergoing sustained expansion as a result of the corporate efficiency drive during the recession, continued evolution of mobile technology and growing acceptance of employee-owned smartphones in the workplace.”
Investment Directors Jonathan Bell and Simon Braham led the deal team for LDC. Braham commented: “Xmbrace’s leading market position and highly respected team, combined with its existing partnership with Kirona, make it the ideal acquisition. The deal will create a number of technical and sales synergies as a result of the two companies’ complementary propositions and target sectors.
“Working alongside its management team, we will continue to support Kirona’s organic growth, built on ‘best in class’ technical expertise and leading customer service, alongside an ongoing acquisitions strategy which expand its suite of solutions, delivering value to its customer base and shareholders alike.”
The transaction will see Xmbrace’s founder and CEO David Todd, and Operations Director Richard Winch remain with the enlarged business, which expects sales to reach over £7 million for the financial year ending March 2013.
David Todd added: “Over recent years we have invested significantly in our technical capabilities and people, to build and deliver the next generation of our market leading dynamic scheduling and corporate booking solutions.
“Kirona shares our vision to drive growth through offering a complementary and integrated product set to both existing and new customers by maximising our combined routes to market, and diversifying into new growth verticals, allowing clients to benefit strongly from the efficiencies our solutions offer.”
Issued on behalf of LDC by Citypress.
T. 0161 235 0318
M. 07545 211 511
- Clearwater – Carl Houghton & Andy Strickland (Corporate Finance advice to Kirona/LDC)
- DSW – Ed Brentnall & Catriona Lang (FDD for Kirona)
- Gateley – Paul Jefferson, Jemma Bolton & Kasia Lebiecki (legals for Kirona / LDC)