The Manchester office of mid-market private equity house LDC has exited its investment in Waterfall Catering Group, the contract catering business behind Caterplus and Taylor Shaw, to Paris-based multinational Elior Group SA.
LDC, originally backed the £20m secondary buyout of Waterfall in December 2014 in a deal which supported the growth ambitions of the business’ management team, led by chief executive Jim Lovett, finance director Gabrielle Higham and chairman Vince Pearson.
The transaction, which was led by investment director Richard Ibbett and director and co-head of LDC in the North West Johnny Bell, generated a 2.6x money multiple and an internal rate of return of 81% for LDC.
Since the investment, LDC has supported the management team in executing their organic growth strategy for the Warrington-headquartered company, which focused on strengthening margins, as well as improving customer proposition and service delivery in its core markets of care and education.
This has driven growth in revenues from £50m to more than £70m with headcount increasing from 3,000 to more than 3,500 employees during the last 19 months.
The deal sees Waterfall join one of the world’s largest operators in the contracted food industry in Elior Group, which is listed on Paris’ Euronext market and recorded annual revenues of €5,674m in the financial year 2014-2015.