LDC has invested in Warrington-based procurement services business CEL Procurement (‘CEL’) to help fuel the firm’s ambitious acquisition strategy.
CEL delivers procurement services for public sector organisations in the UK primarily in social housing. The company holds exclusive rights to the Procurement for Housing brand, which allows CEL to procure EU compliant framework agreements.
The business, which employs 35 staff from its Warrington headquarters, manages in excess of £180million of products and services through its purchasing activities, including building materials, energy and agency labour. It processes over 400,000 invoices each year for more than 800 social housing, independent healthcare and education-related organisations.
CEL de-merged from parent company CEL Group following a management buyout in 2008.
The investment, which sees LDC take a minority equity stake in CEL, will support the business as it explores complementary acquisition opportunities to expand its presence in the UK and in select international markets, including Canada and USA. The value of the investment is undisclosed.
Investment director Richard Ibbett, who joined LDC’s North West team in December 2013, will sit on the board at CEL. He was supported on the transaction by director and co-head of LDC North West Jonathan Bell. Ibbett said: “CEL’s management team has worked hard to deliver impressive growth in recent years and establish its enviable market position in the social housing sector. Our investment recognises the significant prospects of CEL, in the UK and abroad, and will help to accelerate the next stage of the business’ development and expansion.
“Private equity has an important role to play in supporting British businesses in order to catalyse job creation and economic growth. This deal is further evidence of our commitment to back high growth SMEs and provide the financial support to maximise the potential of these scalable companies.”
Paul Kennedy, CEO of CEL, said: “LDC has a rich pedigree in supporting management teams in fulfilling their growth ambitions. We look forward to working with Richard and Jonathan to identify acquisition opportunities that will introduce us to new domestic and international markets, but also enhance our ability to deliver value for money for customers and increase trade for suppliers.”
Advisors to LDC were Jonathan Robinson at DWF and Clearwater Corporate Finance. Advisors to the company were Heatons and Beech Advisory. Vendor due diligence was conducted by Deloitte and PMSI.