ACQUISITIONS DRIVE GROWTH - Review of the significant growth of three of our portfolio companies

A successful private equity partnership is often centred on the delivery of a targeted buy and build strategy or an organic growth plan; adding long-term, sustainable value for a business and equipping it with the capabilities to develop new services and capitalise on an evolving consumer landscape.

A recent study into the social value of private equity showed LDC portfolio companies grew three times faster than the national average for all SMEs, with aggregate employment in our portfolio companies increasing by 27%, and turnover by 20%, during our stewardship.

Here we look at the significant growth of three of our portfolio companies from the Midlands; Away Resorts, Prism Medical and Node4.

LDC supported the secondary buyout of holiday park owner and operator Away Resorts in April 2015. 

The business acquired Cosways Holiday Park in Mersea Island in January 2016, and an extensive programme is now underway to improve and expand the facilities at the park, which has been renamed Mersea Island Holiday Park.

This acquisition marks the first step of the business’ strategy to identify high quality additions and grow its share of the UK market.

Away Resorts has also implemented an £8million improvement plan at Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire, whilst a £4million modernisation and expansion is also underway at Whitecliff Bay in the Isle of Wight.

Prism Medical, a manufacturer and provider of specialist mobility and handling equipment, is accelerating its buy and build strategy, with its fourth acquisition since LDC supported the £30million management buyout of the business in April 2014.

In August 2015, the business purchased Smirthwaite, a manufacturer and supplier of specialist equipment for children and young people with special needs. This follows the purchase of The Mobility Equipment Company earlier in the year, and two other acquisitions in 2014.

The acquisitive and organic growth during LDC’s tenure to date has seen an increase in Prism Medical’s staff numbers by 130 people, with the business now employing 430 staff.

LDC backed the management buyout of IT solutions provider Node4 in May 2013.

During the subsequent three years, Node4 activated a strategic buy and build strategy that saw it complete the acquisitions of LETN Solutions, Reconnix and Premier IT Networks, as it capitalised on the growing trend for customers to outsource IT services and favour integrated providers. 

The management team generated impressive growth in the business; increasing revenues from £13million to £28million (March 2016) and more than tripling staff numbers, with the business now employing 184 people. LDC exited its investment in October 2016, generating a money multiple of 2.8x.