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May 27, 2024
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Private Equity

Private equity firm LDC invests £350m in UK SMEs


Investment

LDC, a leading private equity investor, plans to increase its investment activity in 2024 after ploughing £350m into UK-based SMEs in the last 12 months.

In 2023, LDC invested £300m in 14 new businesses with a total enterprise value of more than £1bn. It also invested £50m of follow-on funding in its existing portfolio of more than 90 companies and supported 46 bolt-on acquisitions.

New investments included sustainability data and technology provider Sedex, specialist production agency Star Live, AI-based talent analytics platform Horsefly and fast-growing managed service provider DSP.

Key portfolio company acquisitions in 2023 included telecoms provider Onecom’s tenth bolt-on since LDC’s investment in 2019 and digital transformation service provider FSP’s acquisition of Savanti.

LDC also generated £440m of proceeds from nine exits, representing an average money multiple return of 3.2x.

Highlights include creative and technology group MSQ after significant international expansion.

Tech celebrated in LDC’s Top 50 business list

LDC’s support helped the companies it exited in 2023 to generate average revenue growth of 133 per cent, EBITDA growth of 180 per cent and headcount growth of 159 per cent.

The firm, which operates from 10 regional locations, also made 18 new hires and 13 promotions during 2023, putting it in a strong position to increase investment activity in 2024.

LDC chief executive Toby Rougier said: “Despite the headwinds faced by the economy in 2023, our unique funding model enabled LDC to show its support in every corner of the UK.

“We provided a consistent and reliable supply of new investment and continued to partner with our portfolio companies to focus on their growth ambitions. The exits we completed in 2023 prove the value of our relationship-based approach.

“Our success reflects the resilience and entrepreneurial spirit that make medium-sized companies the backbone of our economy.

“Now, as we see signs of market conditions improving, it’s the ambitious leaders behind these businesses who will lead a resurgence of M&A activity in 2024 – and we remain committed to partnering with them.

“I’m also proud of the progress we made towards our ESG ambitions in 2023, in supporting the decarbonisation of our portfolio, investing in businesses making a significant contribution to the UK’s journey to net zero, and raising funds for The Prince’s Trust as well as many local charities right across the UK.”

LDC exits MSQ after four years at multiple of 3.9x

In 2023, LDC contributed £1.1m to charities across the UK and was awarded ‘Partner of the Year’ at The Prince’s Trust Partnership in recognition of its ongoing support for the UK’s leading youth charity.

LDC has already helped more than 3,350 young people to turn their business ideas into reality whilst encouraging a more diverse group of future business leaders.

The private equity firm was recognised by more than 20 award wins in 2023 across the business, including Real Deal’s Future 40: ESG Innovators and Future 40: Climate Change Champions list in recognition of its commitment to ESG and sustainable investing.

 



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