We were the lead investor in the £26 million secondary management buyout of Emprise, one of the UK’s leading providers of outsourced environmental and property services, in October 2003.
We invested alongside the founder and chairman of the business, Stephen Barrett, and chief executive Howard Sharp. Emprise was the first deal completed through our first fund, RL Private Equity Fund I.
Our ability to structure a deal that was flexible enough to meet the needs of several different parties, together with our in-depth understanding of the support services sector and the good relationship developed with the management team, helped us to secure the mandate.
Emprise had an excellent reputation in a relatively non-cyclical growth sector, with robust and diverse customer relationships, visible cashflows and a highly motivated and experienced management team. In addition, the business operated in a very fragmented market, making growth through acquisition highly feasible.
Post investment, we worked in partnership with Emprise to identify strategic opportunities to grow the business both organically and through bolt-ons. Revenue increased by 48% between 2004 and 2006. Emprise also made several acquisitions, including Wells Security and Southern Security Group in 2004 – which more than doubled the size of Emprise’s security and manned guarding activities – and Ridgeway Group in February 2005, following an initial introduction that we instigated.
We realised our investment in Emprise in May 2007 when the business was sold to a vehicle backed by Lloyds Development Capital for £50 million, generating a return of c2.0x our original investment.
To discuss Emprise in more detail, please contact Richard Caston.