Leading mid-market private equity firm LDC aims to bolster its investment in Welsh businesses with the launch of an office in Cardiff, which will be led by experienced Welsh dealmaker, Dewi Hughes.
LDC invests up to £100m of equity capital to support the growth of SME and mid-sized businesses through management buy-outs, institutional buy-outs and development capital transactions. The announcement comes after LDC pledged to invest £1.2bn in British businesses over the next three years.
Local corporate finance professional Dewi Hughes has been appointed to lead LDC’s offering, which represents the only on-the-ground presence of a mid-market private equity house in Wales. The firm has secured an office on Cathedral Road in Cardiff city centre, which will complement its established office in Bristol.
Dewi, a Welsh speaker and Chartered Accountant with 20 years’ experience in M&A, joins from Deloitte where he has led the Big Four firm’s corporate finance advisory team in Cardiff in recent years. Dewi, who started his career at Ernst & Young in 1993 before moving to Deloitte in 2007, has extensive experience of local, national and international mergers and acquisitions.
The office launch builds on LDC’s longstanding track record in supporting businesses in Wales, which includes backing the growth of Bridgend, Cardiff and Tredegar-based pharmaceutical manufacturer Penn Pharmaceuticals. LDC backed the secondary buyout of Penn Pharmaceuticals in 2007 and, during its tenure, helped grow revenues from £17m to more than £30m in 2014, with headcount increasing by 47 per cent. The investment period also saw LDC back the launch of the company’s world-leading manufacturing facility in 2013. LDC exited its investment in the business in 2014 in a £127m deal with US-based Packaging Co-ordinators Inc.
Elsewhere in its portfolio, LDC created independent production company Boom Pictures, which is behind Boom Cymru in Cardiff, in 2012 and later supported the merger of the business with international TV production firm Twofour Group. In 2015, LDC exited its investment through a sale to ITV plc.
LDC’s portfolio also comprises professional procurement services business Inprova Group, which the team backed in its acquisition of Caerphilly-based UES Energy in September 2015 in a transaction that bolstered its fast growing energy division.
Martin Draper, Chief Executive of LDC, said: “The private equity landscape in Wales is increasingly attractive. With both the rate and scale of deal activity intensifying, it is the optimum time for us to invest in a permanent base in Wales and support ambitious management teams across the country in achieving their growth ambitions.
“Dewi’s experience and expertise, as well as his standing in the local business community, make him an ideal fit for our strategic objectives in the Welsh market.
“Our expansion into Wales furthers our regional strategy and our commitment to be a part of the business communities in which we invest. Dewi will work closely with our established team in Bristol and brings our combined private equity and corporate finance experience in the South West and Wales region to over 60 years.”
Dewi Hughes, who joined LDC on 3rd May 2016 as an Investment Director and Head of LDC in Wales, said: “LDC is synonymous with business growth. Its track record and reputation for working closely with management teams on-the-ground locally to create real value and scale within its portfolio demonstrates the transformational impact of private equity.
“The Cardiff launch reaffirms LDC’s pledge to support British businesses and develop local relationships. I look forward to being part of the LDC story as we identify new investment opportunities to take Welsh businesses to their next stage of growth.”