Management buys Barclays equity division

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Barclays Private Equity has been bought out by its management team, it was revealed yesterday.

The buyout has led to the creation of a new firm – Equistone Partners Europe – which owns two major Yorkshire firms, Afi-Uplift and Allied Glass.

Yesterday, Steve O’Hare, the director at Equistone in the north, said he was looking at further deals in Yorkshire, which could complete in 2012.

He added: “We are always looking for businesses to invest in.”

Wakefield-based AFI-Uplift, which employs around 250 staff, helps people to work safely at height.

The company, which is a powered access machine rental specialist, had an annual turnover of around £23m, and recently bought a division of the Welsh firm AJ Access Platforms.

Leeds-based Allied Glass, which has more than 800 staff, makes glass containers for the premium spirits industry and its customers include Diageo and William Grant & Sons.

The company has a turnover of around £85.5m, and recently invested millions of pounds in new machinery.

Guillaume Jacqueau, the managing partner of Equistone, said: “Our team’s successful investment track record has been established over many years by a consistent focus on identifying and partnering with winning management teams in the European mid-market to achieve long-term growth and impressive returns for our investors.”

Barclays, which last month posted higher profits as gains in its retail banking and credit card business offset a slowdown at its investment banking arm, has been selling off non-core assets to improve its returns.

Last month, it sold its Russian retail and commercial banking operations to local banker Igor Kim, while in June it sold a portfolio of funds worth $740m (£464m) to French insurer AXA.

Barclays said the Equistone business would continue to manage its three funds on behalf of existing investors.