LDC marks 25 years in region

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MID-market private equity house LDC could be on the brink of investing in Yorkshire-based healthcare and manufacturing firms as it celebrates 25 years in the region.

John Garner, the director and head of LDC in Yorkshire and the North East, hopes to increase the size of his team, as activity picks up in the region’s private equity market.

He added: “We’ve managed to keep growing by ensuring that we’re entwined in the market in Yorkshire. The economy is coming out of five tough years and business is improving.

“Activity is stronger than it’s been for several years.”

As a sign of its confidence in Yorkshire, LDC has moved into a new office on the fourth floor of 1 City Square in Leeds.

The firm had previously occupied a smaller suite in the same building.

The new office will provide room for LDC’s seven-strong team in the region, which is led by John Garner, and includes director Steve Harrison, investment directors Dale Alderson and Joe Farren, and investment manager Jane Gilbert.

Yesterday, Mr Garner said there were 4,750 people employed within LDC’s portfolio across the region.

He added: “Our total investment in Yorkshire and the North East over the last 12 months was £70m, which means the investment figure has trebled over the last two years.

“Our average investment over the previous two years was £40m in the region.”

According to Mr Garner, LDC’s portfolio in Yorkshire and the North East turns over a total of £700m a year.

He added: “We’ve seen a really strong resurgence in manufacturing exports.”

Mr Garner said LDC was looking at a number of good opportunities in Yorkshire, with some potential activity in healthcare and manufacturing.

“There are new entrants and new capital coming into the markets,’’ he said.

Over the last 10 years, LDC has delivered £1bn of profits for Lloyds Banking Group, which is still around 25 per cent taxpayer owned.

Mr Garner added: “LDC has a proud history and investment track record in Yorkshire and the North East. Since our Leeds office was launched back in 1989, we have been committed to supporting the development of the region’s most ambitious businesses.

“Over the past five years LDC has backed more than 60 management teams and invested over £1.5bn of capital.”

In September, LDC supported the secondary buyout of Harrogate-based oil and environmental services business Adler and Allan. Other recent deals have included a fresh capital injection for Gateshead-based Express Engineering in October 2013 and the management buyout of Castleford-based Stroma earlier this year.

Nationally, the private equity house has invested more than £200m of capital across 12 businesses in 2014.

It plans to invest up to £2bn over the next five years, as part of a package to back between 80 and 100 British businesses.

LDC has a UK regional network and an Asian operation in Hong Kong. It invests between £2m and £100m in management buyouts and development capital transactions in a range of sectors, including construction and property, financial services, healthcare, industrials, travel and leisure and support services.