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INTERNATIONAL AMBITION

The UK has now embarked on at least two years of complex negotiations with the European Union, which will determine the type of relationship we will have with our biggest single trading partner moving forward.

In the South West and Wales, we have particularly strong trade connection on the continent, with the three UK cities with the highest reliance on European Union (EU) exports being based here in the South West: 70 per cent of exports from Exeter, 68 per cent from Plymouth and 66 per cent from Bristol go to the EU. Two thirds (67 per cent) of Welsh exports also went to the EU in the final quarter of 2016.

While it's clear that the UK's position following its departure from the EU will change the way firms operate here, it highlights the ambition of businesses across the South West and Wales to grow internationally.

Our recent survey demonstrated that almost two thirds of the region's business leaders are executing their corporate strategy undeterred, despite ongoing political and economic uncertainties. Compared to a national average of less than half, this is promising to see.

ADEY, the Cheltenham-based heating systems specialist that LDC backed in 2016, is a prime example of a UK business that is striving for growth, with a particular focus overseas. Since our investment it has expanded its export operations beyond Europe, and is now also operating in the US and China.

Similarly, our partnership with Ministry of Cake saw its export sales grow by over 10 per cent following new contract wins in markets including Europe, Turkey, Russia and the Middle East, all while it continued to grow its scale in the UK. Its international presence attracted French buyer Mademoiselle Desserts, who bought the business in December 2016.

LDC also supported the international ambition of portfolio company A-Gas, which it backed in 2011. During the investment period, the Bristol-based company made six acquisitions to drive its international expansion in Australia and the US.

Revenues grew 79 per cent and profits (EBITDA) 103 per cent over the five-year partnership, and LDC sold the business to global investment firm KKR in 2017.

LDC also invests in businesses which already have substantial international presence, helping to further solidify their positions in overseas markets. Like Dorset-based global ID cards business, Magicard, where we backed a £22million management buyout in May 2016.

Magicard already sells into more than 100 countries, generating over 70 per cent of revenues, and is continually striving to further its international scale.

All four businesses now have a firm foothold in a number of international markets, enabling them to grow revenues by expanding their reach while building in a level of robustness that protects against a downturn in any one market.

At LDC, we partner with ambitious businesses as they work to build a secure and prosperous future.