Abingdon is the UK’s largest privately owned manufacturer of quality carpets, employing 400 people.
Abingdon was a subsidiary of US parent Shaw Carpets, which entered Chapter 11 in 2003. This created a technical insolvency of the £40 million turnover Abingdon which required resolution.
EPIC Private Equity backed the incumbent management team to acquire the company, investing £2 million and securing an £8 million bank facility from RBS to finance the transaction.
Following the acquisition, EPIC Private Equity worked with management to restructure the cost base and refocus the company on its core competency of carpet manufacturing. Manufacturing operations were consolidated from seven sites to one site in South Wales, achieving cost savings and simultaneously eliminating excess capacity.
In January 2005, EPIC Private Equity completed the exit of the investment to management, achieving an IRR of 68.9%.
Independent Living Group
Independent Living Group ("ILG") operates care homes focused on adults with learning disabilities.
At the time of investment, the care homes sector was highly fragmented but undergoing consolidation. EPIC Private Equity partnered with a proven management team with a successful track record in care homes to create a group focussed on adult learning disabilities. The platform investment of £4.6 million was made in September 2004 to acquire Iliace. EPIC Private Equity subsequently supported the acquisition of a further three care homes, Opus, Eversleigh and Communitas which has a combined turnover of £8 million.
The strategy focussed on closing underperforming homes and improving retention and fee rates by increasing the quality of service. By exit, ILG had grown to be a 300 bed group and a top 10 operator in the UK market.
In December 2006, EPIC Private Equity completed the exit of ILG to Hermes Private Equity for £52.2 million, achieving an IRR of 30.5%.
Luceco designs, manufacturers and distributes electrical and wiring accessories and has over 60 years history in the electrical markets. The company operates three brands: Masterplug (portable power), British General (wiring accessories), Luceco (LED lighting) and Ross (AV accessories including TV brackets). Headquartered in London, Luceco has its own Chinese manufacturing (Wholly-Owned Foreign Enterprise, one-hour from Shanghai), and four warehouses and five sales offices around the globe.
In 2005, EPIC Private Equity backed a management buyout, investing £4.3 million.
Since investment, Luceco has developed its own Chinese production facilities and key domestic contracts have been renegotiated, resulting in increased margins. The existing Luceco product range has been expanded and cross sold between the trade and retail channels. The business has also introduced new brands to target new opportunities, particularly the launch of Luceco LED.
As a result, sales, margins and profitability have been increasing strongly since the MBO, with recent significant retail wins and entry into the LED lighting market underpinning further growth. Luceco is currently the largest independent electrical accessories business in the UK.
On 17 October 2016, Luceco plc announced the successful pricing of its initial public offering ("IPO") and admission to trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange. The IPO price implied a market capitalisation for the company of £209m and a return to ESO plc of 24.4x Money Multiple and 75.6% IRR, of which 12.3x Money Multiple and 57.9% IRR is realised.
Pinnacle Regeneration Group
Pinnacle Regeneration Group provides facilities and estate management and maintenance services to social housing. The Company also operates a PFI and PPP bidding vehicle for urban redevelopment projects in a joint venture with John Laing plc called Regenter. The Company currently provides services to over 300,000 social homes in the UK.
In December 2001, EPIC Private Equity invested £4.7m to support the growth of the company.
The strategy combined the successful conversion of new urban redevelopment projects via Regenter, to grow the potential social housing services order book, with the continued improvement of the service offering to increase revenue generating opportunities. The management team also invested in additional, complementary services such as Pinnacle People, established in 2008 to provide innovative solutions to help people get back to work.
In June 2011, EPIC Private Equity completed the exit of its investment to a consortium of Hong-Kong based investors, achieving an IRR of 111.2%.
Whittard of Chelsea
Whittard of Chelsea was founded in 1886 as a retailer of speciality teas, coffees and cocoas. The modern Whittard is a multichannel retailer focusing on the same core categories but also providing a curated selection of the associate equipment for the preparation and consumption of the beverage lines. Today the business has 57 stores in the UK, as well as serving a global market from its ecommerce platform and wholesales and franchise distribution.
EPIC Private Equity acquired the business in December 2008 via a pre-packaged administration for £0.6 million.
The success of the turnaround focused initially on the closure of loss making stores (51 within one month of acquisition), improvements to in-store operations, point of sale and merchandising. The head office was relocated and a new management team was installed. Latterly, the business has focused on margin improvement through reduction in discount led promotion and, as the focus shifts to growth, increased brand investment.
There exists a strong growth potential for the Whittard brand, further potential in the UK retail estate, expanding its web, wholesale and franchising channels.