Scots firms in cross hairs of LDC amid £1.2bn pledge

Investment director Colin Bennett, head of LDC in Scotland Mark Kerr and investment director Lee Donaldson. Picture: Contributed
Investment director Colin Bennett, head of LDC in Scotland Mark Kerr and investment director Lee Donaldson. Picture: Contributed
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Scotland is to take centre stage in private equity firm LDC’s plans to invest some £1.2 billion in “ambitious high-growth firms” over the next three years.

The private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group said the country was a “strategic focus” for the firm, which typically invests between £5m and £100m in a single transaction.

LDC invested a total of £437m of equity last year in 23 new deals – a record total for the business, driven by what it said was “continuing demand for private equity from the UK’s medium-sized businesses”.

In an annual summary of its performance, the firm noted that every one of its seven UK regional teams invested last year. It is committed to investing £1.2bn over the next three years (2019 through to 2021).

In Scotland, LDC invested £15m in optical provider Duncan & Todd Group. Since partnering with the private equity provider, the business has completed four acquisitions to increase its retail footprint across Scotland – adding two new sites in Edinburgh, and locations in Peebles, Coatbridge and Glasgow.

In addition, LDC exited its investment in Guardian Global Technologies, a global designer and manufacturer of oil and gas perforation technology and production logging equipment, for an undisclosed sum.

Looking ahead, LDC, which has Scottish operations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, said it expects a “challenging” period across the market, but stressed that its appetite to invest remained “as strong as ever”.

Mark Kerr, head of LDC in Scotland, said: “Businesses in Scotland have always reflected the spirit and determination of its people, no matter the circumstances.

“The ambition and drive we’re seeing from management teams across the country gives us confidence amid the current uncertainty and is exactly why we stand ready to support them in 2019.

“As a firm, LDC is committed to backing ambition and over the next three years we plan to invest £1.2bn to support firms across the UK.

“It is my role to ensure Scottish businesses with a clear growth strategy can benefit from the support of a private equity partner and have access to the investment they need to achieve their growth plans.”

Martin Draper, chief executive of LDC, added: “Last year was another milestone year for LDC, which saw us deploy our capital and expertise from every one of our regional teams.”

Last year, the firm bolstered its team in Scotland with the appointment Lee Donaldson as investment director, to work alongside Kerr and investment director Colin Bennett.

LDC has now invested in more than 600 firms since it was established.