LDC exits global safety business Kee Safety in a £90million deal with Dunedin

LDC has completed the sale of its stake in Kee Safety, the leading global safety business, in a £90million deal with Dunedin.

LDC took a significant stake in Kee Safety in February 2011 and the transaction provides an excellent return for LDC in just under three years.

Headquartered in Meriden, near Birmingham, Kee Safety is a market leading global provider of safety systems and solutions. Its specialist product portfolio includes a wide range of personal and collective fall protection solutions, specifically designed to separate people working at height or on the ground from hazards. The business operates through a number of internationally recognised brands including KeeGuard, Kee Walk, Kee Access and Kee Klamp and has a strong reputation for customer service and technical support.

Since investing in Kee Safety, LDC has worked in close partnership with a management team with extensive sector knowledge and operational expertise, to implement a strategic plan. This has focused on product innovation, optimising and expanding routes to market, driving international expansion in the US, Europe and the Middle East, and augmenting organic growth with complementary acquisitions to enhance the business’ geographic footprint and product portfolio.

During the investment period, Kee Safety has achieved substantial sales and profit growth, continuing its expansion in key markets such as North America, Europe and the Middle East, whilst also further developing its international infrastructure through the opening of new operations in China and North America. In line with this expansion, the business has grown its senior management team, placing key personnel within all major territories to enhance its ‘in market presence’.

Kee Safety has delivered strong financial growth over the three years of LDC’s investment, with turnover rising from £27million to £37million in the current financial year. Employee numbers have also risen considerably during the investment period, with the business now employing more than 270 people, up from 180 people at the beginning of 2011.

The original investment and ultimate exit from Kee Safety was led by LDC’s Chief Investment Officer Martin Draper, together with Birmingham-based Investment Director Andy Lyndon, who both acted as LDC’s representatives on the board throughout the investment.

Chris Milburn, Chief Executive of Kee Safety said: "Over the last three years, LDC has invested considerable time and resource in our business. We established a close working relationship with the Midlands’ team at the time of the MBO and the business has benefitted significantly from their help in delivering our strategic objectives, including supporting our acquisition strategy both here in the UK and internationally. We now have a strong foundation upon which to progress further.”

LDC’s Chief Investment Officer Martin Draper added: “In Kee Safety, we recognised the opportunity to partner with a high-quality management team and a business which had an internationally renowned reputation for high-quality and innovative safety products and solutions. Since our investment, the business has consistently outperformed and enjoyed considerable success on a global scale, leveraging its brands internationally, driving organic and acquisitive growth, and successfully expanding its presence in all key international territories. This exit highlights how private equity working in partnership with a high quality management team can help to grow and develop a business on an international scale. Kee Safety is now strategically well positioned to embark on the next phase of its development with Dunedin, and we wish everyone at the business all the best for the future.”

LDC and Dunedin completed the transaction with support from a number of Midlands-based advisors, including Grant Thornton who completed Financial Due Diligence, Wragge & Co who acted for LDC and Gateley who advised Dunedin. The Acquisition Finance team at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and HSBC Leveraged Finance jointly provided senior debt and a revolving credit facility to support the transaction.

Notes to Editors

  1. LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.  
  2. LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based medium sized companies seeking up to £100m of investment to fund management buyouts or development capital transactions.
  3. LDC invests in a broad range of sectors and has particular experience in Healthcare, Industrials, Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure, Support Services, Construction & Property and Financial Services.
  4. LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.