LDC has backed the management buyout of Mini-Cam, a market leading designer, manufacturer and supplier of pipeline inspection systems which principally serves the clean water and waste water utilities market, both in the UK and through an international distributor network.
The investment will assist the business in continuing its investment in product innovation and drive international revenue growth in existing and new markets worldwide.
Established in 1991 by CEO Nigel Wilson, Mini-Cam designs and manufactures a range of pipeline inspection systems, including Crawler Systems and Push Cameras which are supplied to major utilities and their contractor supply chain in order to fulfil increasing demand for inspection activity.
The business employs 37 people at its headquarters in Warrington where its products are designed, manufactured and assembled.
Mini-Cam is the UK’s market leader in Push Camera systems – a position that has been reinforced following the recent launch of its acclaimed Proteus Crawler System and augmented with the opening of additional UK service centres, driving both growth in the UK and through its increasing export business which currently accounts for over one third of its revenues.
LDC’s investment was led by Chris Wright (Investment Director) and Johnny Bell (Director and co-Head of LDC in the North West) and will provide additional funding to accelerate Mini-Cam’s forecast growth, focusing on R&D, expanding the firm’s international distribution network. LDC will take a substantial minority equity stake in the business, alongside the management team, as part of the transaction.
Mark Mills, will remain Non-Executive Chairman of the business, whilst Tony Clarkson will be appointed as Non-Executive Director. Colin White, whose experience includes Nanoco, Scapa and Smiths Group, will join the business as Finance Director.
Chris Wright, who will join the board at completion, said: “Mini-Cam is a great example of a high quality, British engineering business that has a proven ability to innovate robust, high quality products which is a clear market leader in its field with a rapidly growing export division. Private equity investment will provide the management team with the catalyst it needs to take the next step in its development as it looks to further establish itself on the international stage.
“With such strong growth drivers within the pipeline inspection sector, across a number of vertical markets, we will work closely with Mini-Cam to explore opportunities to broaden its customer base and potentially take its quality products to new industries.”
Nigel Wilson, CEO of Mini-Cam, said: “There is significant investment in developing and maintaining the ageing Water infrastructure in Developed Countries around the world, to cope with increasing demand. In the UK alone, there is over half a million kilometres of pipeline and contractors need robust, technologically-advanced equipment to effectively inspect and maintain on behalf of the Major Utilities.”
“With the support of LDC, we will be able to drive further investment in the development of our market-leading systems which help contractors do their job efficiently and to the highest standards. LDC’s experience in fuelling international growth and guiding businesses to build scale makes them an exciting partner to have with us as we embark on a new growth journey.”
Mark Mills, Chairman of Mini-Cam, said: “The company is really gathering momentum with its new range of products and because it has constantly refreshed its core range. LDC’s investment comes at an ideal time to accelerate growth and help our customers to operate their businesses profitably and secure in the knowledge that they are using the most innovative equipment in the market place. Mini-Cam is ideally placed to serve additional customers in oil and gas, nuclear, industrial and the construction sectors with LDC’s expertise and assistance.”
Jonathan Bell added: “This is the fourth deal over the last eight months for the LDC Manchester Office bringing the total investment to over £90million of equity, which is in line with our commitment to invest £300million over the next three years.”
Advisors on the deal included Rothschild (lead advisory), DWF (legal advisor) and BDO (FDD) which advised Mini-Cam. LDC was advised by Deloitte (lead advisory), Addleshaw Goddard (legal advisor), Armstrong (CDD) and PwC (tax advisory).
LDC’s Manchester office is celebrating its 15th anniversary and in July 2015 pledged up to £300million to support mid-market businesses in the North West. As part of this commitment, the team recently backed the management buyouts of Seabrook Crisps and Synexus, as well as the secondary buyout of Waterfall Services.