LDC’s focus on the South of England spans a large and diverse business community. From the M1 and M4 corridors, to outer London and down to the Solent, our Reading office invests across eight Local Enterprise Partnerships areas.
Over the years, we have seen a wealth of ambitious, mid-sized businesses with world-class potential, and with the region being home to some of the fastest growing towns in the UK, we are anticipating an uplift in business activity.
We exited our investment in Oxfordshire-based Property Software Group in April 2016 in a £75 million sale to Zoopla Group Plc., having helped the business grow its sales from £10million to £16million over a three-year period. This kind of growth trajectory is not out of the ordinary – we are also seeing rapid expansion with international information management specialist EDM Group. It was recently named the UK’s fastest-growing business by exports in the Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, in part thanks to a range of acquisitions we’ve supported in the UK and overseas.
Businesses like this are a testament to the fast-paced technology sector in the South, with TMT and SaaS firms occupying a large space in the region’s economic makeup.
LDC has had a number of other success in the region, from Thame-based ULS, which floated on AIM in 2014, to Wokingham-headquartered Leasedrive, which merged with Zenith in the same year, creating the largest independent vehicle leasing provider in the UK. Another LDC portfolio company is Slough-based ATCORE, a provider of e-commerce solutions for travel companies, which recently completed the acquisition of Tiger Bay in a move which will strengthen its travel suite and support its expansion into specialist markets.
One of our most recent deals was the management buyout of Oxfordshire-based ByBox, the UK’s leading field service engineer logistics and supply chain technology solutions provider, to support its international growth. It is the type of forward-thinking, ambitious business we want to back, with a considerable competitive advantage and a significant opportunity to expand.
Not confined to technology and business services firms, the South’s success stories span a much broader industry landscape – in aerospace, engineering, manufacturing and maritime.
Having had considerable success in the home market, our investment strategy with many of our portfolio businesses is to drive expansion overseas. Last year, we invested in Poole-based BOFA, a global market leader in Fume Extraction Technology, to drive its continued global expansion.
LDC has also partnered with premium shower manufacturer Aqualisa to accelerate its organic growth and technology development, which has further propelled the business to the forefront of its market. Its recent accolades including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Corgi Product of the Year awards.
A more recent addition to LDC’s portfolio includes one of the world’s leading manufacturers of secure ID card printers, software and related consumables, Weymouth-based Magicard. The business is now geared up to accelerate its growth, and capitalise on international market opportunities.
Looking ahead, the prospects for the region are bright and we’re determined to play a part in supporting ambitions firms across the area who want to unlock their potential.
It’s not surprising that some of LDC’s best success stories have come from this region.