TCL secures follow-on funding
TCL Group has acquired Playforce, a designer and builder of children’s play areas, after receiving further investment from BGF.
This is the third acquisition TCL has completed in seven months, as part of its strategy to provide a range of outdoor services and consultancy to house builders, local authorities, schools and heritage estates. In particular, the move will help the Northampton-based business scale up its ability to sell a range of services to the education sector. It acquired Burleys in June 2014 and ALS in August 2014.
Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Melksham near Bath, Playforce has gained extensive experience in designing and installing outdoor play environments aligned to school curriculums. The two businesses intend to take advantage of new opportunities in the education sector as purchasing power moves from local authorities to schools.
TCL Group is on track to achieve turnover of £45m this financial year, up from £22m at the time of BGF’s first investment in May 2014, which was made in conjunction with Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance’s debt funding package. This equates to an eight fold increase since chief executive Simon Cashmore bought the company in 2007. BGF, which backs growing UK businesses, has now invested a total of £15.1m in TCL.
BGF has invested £2.8m of growth capital in RVL Group, a specialist aviation services provider that operates a fleet of 15 aircraft based at East Midlands Airport (EMA).
RVL Group manages long term contracts for government and private sector clients in the survey and surveillance market, and undertakes scheduled and ad-hoc cargo work. It also provides bespoke services for defence equipment manufacturers. While most of its work is carried out in UK airspace, it has completed surveys as far afield as Greenland, Iceland, Saudi Arabia and western Africa as well as throughout Europe.
Founded in 2007 the company operates from a purpose built hangar and office building at EMA, with direct access to the main runway. EMA’s central location and comprehensive infrastructure are strategically important for RVL Group, allowing rapid transit times to any destination in the UK.
RVL Group is part way through a major project to design and create a new spray system for a freight converted Boeing 737 aircraft, which can be used for dispersing oil spills. The solution will be a worldwide first and is being developed with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Waypoint Aeronautical. It is expected to revolutionise the industry’s oil spill clean-up capability which currently consists of legacy systems and technology.
The company plans to use part of BGF’s investment for the final stages of the project, which is due to complete in the first half of 2015, pending regulatory approval. The remainder will be used to develop into new business areas and expand RVL Group’s aircraft fleet, meaning it can take on more work.
As part of the deal, Graham Cole CBE joins the company as Non-Executive Chairman after being introduced to the co-founders through BGF’s talent network programme. Cole is a former Chairman of the West of England Aerospace Forum, a member of the Ministerial Aerospace Committee and Chairman of Agusta Westland. BGF’s Tim Whittard joins the board as Non-Executive Director and James Syrotiuk as Board Observer.
Steve Guynan, Managing Director, RVL Group commented:
“In the past seven years, we’ve won several major contracts through demonstrating innovation, reliability and efficiency. We now want to increase capacity so we can grow existing contracts and take advantage of new opportunities. BGF’s investment allows us to do this.
“We are also delighted to be welcoming Graham Cole to the board. Graham’s experience in the industry will be invaluable as we continue to expand the business.”
Tim Whittard, Investment Director, BGF commented:
“We have worked closely with co-founders, Colin and Steve, to understand the needs of the business. Throughout this process, we’ve been impressed by their sector expertise and commitment to the company, their staff and customers.”
“RVL Group has quickly established a strong foothold in a market with high barriers to entry. There are further opportunities that – as a company with plenty of ambition, energy and ability, and an enlarged aircraft fleet – it can capitalise on.”
RVL Group is banked by Natwest.
BGF backing prepares ground for accelerated growth at TCL
In May 2014, BGF invested £10m of growth capital in TCL Holdings Limited (“TCL”), the external property services business.
TCL is a leading provider of estate management and landscape installation, design and consultancy services to private and public sector organisations throughout the UK.
TCL operates nationwide under three separate brand names: TCL Landscapes (landscape consultancy, design and installation primarily to quoted house builders); Clean Estates (estate management services to commercial property managers and property owners) and Admiral Play (design, consultancy and installation of play facilities to house builders, schools and local authorities).
Across its three divisions, clients of TCL include the UK’s large house builders such as Barratt Homes, Persimmon Homes and Redrow Homes and managing agents such as Jones Lang LaSalle, CBRE and Savills.
Headquartered in Northampton, TCL employs approximately 400 people. The business is forecast to turnover approximately £30m in FY14 and has consistently grown its turnover and EBITDA since 2009 despite the recession. In December 2013, TCL was included in London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 companies to inspire Britain’, a report intended to highlight high performing UK based SME’s.
BGF’s £10m growth capital investment will support the company’s organic and acquisition–led growth in an increasingly favourable market. Statistics show that the UK property market continues to rebound, buoyed by government backed schemes such as ‘Help to Buy’ and the need for new housing across the country. As such, all the major UK house builders are forecasting continued strong growth. TCL will also be supported by an £8.4m debt funding package being provided by Investec Growth & Acquisition Finance, who works with entrepreneurs, management teams and investors to provide finance to UK mid-market companies.
As part of the deal, BGF took a minority shareholding in TCL and Stuart Black joined the TCL Board as Chairman via an introduction from BGF’s Talent Network. Stuart is currently Executive Chairman of Lakehouse Group and former CEO of Mears Group PLC, where over a number of years he has gained a wealth of experience working in high growth, customer service focused contracting businesses. Since joining Lakehouse Group in 2008, he has overseen its growth from a £50m turnover business to £300m today.
TCL Chief Executive Simon Cashmore said:
‘We are delighted to have secured funding with long term partners to allow us to continue to build and develop TCL over forthcoming years Despite the economic headwind, TCL has performed extremely well over the last few years and is now ideally positioned to support increased demand from the UK property market.”
Investment Director Mark Freer who joins the TCL board on behalf of BGF commented:
“Our investment in TCL is a great opportunity to back management to continue the company’s excellent growth story in an increasingly favourable market environment. Our funding is well suited to accelerate this through further strategic acquisitions in the sector and also through organic growth.
TCL has created a recognisable branded service offering throughout the UK and we are delighted to be partnering with them.”
Investment Manager James Syrotiuk added:
“We are delighted to be backing Simon and the team, who have grown TCL to be one of the UK market leaders in the property services sector. BGF’s capital and support will help the Company take advantage of its significant opportunity for growth.”
Inoapps on the acquisition trail following £10m investment
– BGF backs leading IT consultancy to support its ambitious growth plans –
Inoapps, one of the leading Oracle Platinum Partners and Applications specialists in the UK, intends to increase the size and scale of its operations significantly, thanks to a £10m investment of growth capital from BGF. This was BGF’s seventh investment in Scotland brought its current Scottish investment total to just over £36.9m.
BGF, the independent company established to help the UK’s growing businesses, invested £10m in growth capital to allow Inoapps to make several acquisitions to increase its customer offering, and to fund international expansion. BGF took a minority stake and BGF investment director Mike Sibson was appointed to the board. Long-time adviser to the company, Bobby Anderson joined the board at completion, and BGF will also be working with the company to appoint a chairman with industry and entrepreneurial experience to support Inoapps CEO Andy Bird in the next stage of the company’s development.
Inoapps is based in Aberdeen with offices in Edinburgh, Derby and Kuala Lumpur, and a team of around 200 employees and associates. It was founded by Andy Bird in 2006 and is the leading Oracle Reseller and Platinum Partner in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The business specialises in providing consulting, implementation and hosting and managed services for Oracle applications, technology and hardware. Inoapps is on a high growth trajectory, and has doubled turnover in each of the last two years and turned over around £20m to year-end July 2013.
Inoapps initially focussed on implementing Oracle applications and technology solutions into the oil and gas industry but has since diversified into other sectors including construction, defence, and the public sector. It delivers robust, resilient and powerful Oracle solutions that support and transform businesses, bringing rapid return on investment. It has recently completed several multi-million pound projects, and now supports major international blue chip clients across the full range of Oracle products. Inoapps’ “50 in 15” strategy lays out a plan to continue to grow to £50m revenue in 2015, through organic growth and acquisition.
BGF investment director Mike Sibson who will be joining Inoapps board, said:
“Andy Bird is a driven entrepreneur who has built Inoapps into a successful business over the last six years. It is on a highly impressive growth trajectory, driven by consistent high quality project delivery, Andy’s strong leadership and the experienced management team.
“The team has demonstrated its ability to lead the delivery of larger projects to blue chip clients, with outstanding results. Andy has a vision for how Inoapps will build on this platform both in the UK and overseas. BGF was established to provide long term capital to ambitious UK companies and we are very excited to become part of that vision.”
Andy Bird, founder and CEO of Inoapps, commented:
“We are very pleased to have BGF’s support during a pivotal period of growth. We had several recommendations of BGF from trusted advisers and we have been pleased with the efficient investment process.
“We have an aggressive growth plan, and having made two acquisitions in recent years, we know that BGF’s investment will give us the platform to increase our capabilities and our resources for international delivery. This will further strengthen our position as a market leader.”
James joined BGF in April 2012 and is based in BGF’s Milton Keynes office. His main role is to identify and successfully execute investments and he has ongoing board responsibility for a number portfolio companies. Prior to joining BGF, James was an assistant director in PwC’s Corporate Finance team, providing corporate finance and M&A advisory services to SMEs across multiple sectors in the UK and Europe.
James holds a first class (BSc) hons degree in Applied Accounting from Oxford Brookes University and is a chartered accountant with the ACCA. Outside of work, James enjoys spending time with his young family and sport – mixed martial arts, cycling, swimming and running and occasionally tries to combine the latter three by completing several triathlons each year.
“BGF has become a game-changer in the UK funding market, with an absolute focus on supporting energetic, talented and ambitious entrepreneurs. I am passionate about meeting new businesses and entrepreneurs and identifying ways that BGF can help accelerate growth and turbocharge businesses, enabling them to take advantage of growth opportunities as and when they arise.”
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Milton Keynes based software business secures £2.5m from Business Growth Fund
Founded in 2004 by Andrew Anderson and Gary Grant, Celaton was created through the MBO of Redrock Technologies from Netstore plc and the subsequent acquisition of DG Tech Ltd. The Company’s inSTREAM™ software applies artificial intelligence to streamline labour intensive clerical tasks and decision making in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
Delivered as a service, inSTREAM software transforms the way that enterprises handle the unstructured content that flows in every day from customers and suppliers including correspondence, claims and complaints received by email, fax, post & paper. It enables scale and efficiencies that were previously out of reach, minimising the need for human intervention and ensuring that only accurate and relevant data enters line of business systems.
Unique to inSTREAM™ is its ability to learn through the natural consequence of processing information. inSTREAM is relied on by enterprise customers in retail travel insurance and financial service sectors including Asos, Carphone Warehouse, TalkTalk & Virgin.
In December 2012, BGF invested £2.5 million in Celaton. The growth capital from BGF is supporting the accelerated development of a sales and marketing infrastructure and enabling Celaton to drive sales into both the public and private sectors.
Tim Bittleston, Chairman, was introduced to the company through BGF’s Talent Network. Tim has considerable experience at CEO and non-executive levels at a number of IT and software businesses and has raised over £150m in venture capital for various successful enterprises over the past 12 years. Tim Whittard, Investment Director also joined the board as BGF’s representative.