How private equity can turbocharge growth for SMEs

NURTURING AMBITIONS: Team 17s popular computer games are populated by a wide array of characters.
NURTURING AMBITIONS: Team 17s popular computer games are populated by a wide array of characters.
Promoted by LDC

John Garner, head of private equity firm LDC in Yorkshire and the North East, explains how partnering with a private equity investor can help accelerate growth for businesses across the region.

SMEs are crucial for the strength and prosperity of the Yorkshire economy, creating jobs and generating investment opportunities across every industry, from tech to manufacturing, and leisure to healthcare.

The key to their success is the leadership of ambitious management teams and entrepreneurs, capitalising on opportunities to expand or drive growth. But often, a business’ growth journey reaches the stage where the support of an external funding partner is needed to help unlock the next phase of development.

At LDC, we have more than 35 years’ experience in backing business leaders to help them build bigger, more sustainable companies. Private equity brings a mixture of financial backing, strategic discipline and support with everything a growing business needs, such as access to top talent.

We are passionate about providing management teams with everything they need to succeed and meet their growth goals. Within our portfolio we have success stories that span every sector of the UK economy, with businesses of all shapes and sizes.

An example is our partnership with Yorkshire-based games developer Team17, and its founder Debbie Bestwick MBE. Debbie chose to secure investment not just as a source of capital, but “to test myself in the boardroom environment and check that I had the patience and skill to cope at that level.”

“LDC really helped me to prepare for an IPO. They nurtured me well,” Debbie explains.

Last year, she realised her ambition, when Team17 listed on AIM.

“I’m more ambitious than ever now,” she says.

Private equity can also enable expansion into new markets, evidenced by our partnership with popular snack brand Seabrook. In 2015 the Bradford-based management team were keen to capitalise on the growing popularity of ‘made in the UK’ products. We supported their international expansion into markets including the United Arab Emirates, China, France, Spain and Australia.

When we sold the business to global snack brand Calbee in 2018, consumers worldwide were buying 250 million bags of Seabrook crisps every year.

Another example of private equity in action is our partnership with Yorkshire-based property agency Linley & Simpson. LDC invested £10m in June 2018 to help the company expand its regional footprint through an ambitious buy-and-build strategy. Within the first six months of the partnership, it had acquired six complementary businesses, and in July this year completed its biggest acquisition to date, investing leading Yorkshire-based independent agency, Morgans.

Whether a business is looking to grow organically, through acquisition, by investing in research and development, or by expanding into new sectors or geographies, partnering with a private equity investor can be an ideal way to turbocharge growth.

We are committed to backing ambition. It is why we have pledged to invest £1.2bn in British businesses over the next three years.