LDC backs £20million SBO of Waterfall

LDC has backed the £20million secondary buyout of Waterfall, a leading independent contract caterer. The existing management team will continue to lead the business.

Waterfall is headquartered in Warrington and it has a turnover of c£60million with staff numbers of over 3,000. It is one of the UK’s leading independent mid-sized contract caterers operating through two very strong brands in Caterplus and Taylor Shaw. Caterplus services residential and care homes across the country, as well as welfare charities and shelters and it is regarded as the largest operator in the sector. Taylor Shaw operates in the education sector with contracts for state primary and secondary schools and colleges and a presence in business and industry.

LDC has backed the incumbent management team, including Chairman Vince Pearson, CEO Jim Lovett and Finance Director Gabrielle Higham. The deal was led by Investment Director Richard Ibbett and Jonathan Bell, Director and Head of LDC in the North West, who both join the board at Waterfall.

Richard Ibbett, Investment Director at LDC, said: “The contract catering industry is thriving with real demand for quality, cost-effective service and product, particularly as the health and education sector respond to budget challenges. In well under a decade, and with an impressive management team at the helm, Waterfall has become a UK market leader. We look forward to supporting the business as it continues its growth journey.” 

Jim Lovett, CEO at Waterfall, said: “It has been a whirlwind few years and we have now established ourselves as one of the leading players in our sector. Now with LDC, which has a great track record of working with businesses to achieve their growth ambitions, I’m confident that we can kick on and develop our offering to ensure that our customers across the country continue to receive top-class catering services.”

A team at HSBC including Sebastian Lomax, Noel Jones, Tom Ackroyd and Daniel Dugmore provided a £10million senior debt and RCF facility to support the transaction.

LDC was advised by Aziz Ul-Haq and James Worrall at Deloitte, Paul Medlicott, Katie Simpson, Richard Oman, Laura Marr and Chi Lam at Addleshaws, and Ed Brentnall and Catriona Lang at DSW. PWC provided tax structuring advice.

The vendors were advised by Paul Jones, Oliver Wheatley and John Davies at Clearwater International, as well as a team from DWF, including Frank Shephard, Nicola Frost, Darren Ormsby and Nick Hawthorn.

A team from DLA led by Matt Christmas advised HSBC.


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.