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 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.”
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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Mark joined BGF in October 2011 and is based in Birmingham. His main role is to identify and execute investment opportunities, and support our investee companies as they implement their growth plans.
Mark has nearly 20 years’ investing experience in the private equity and growth capital markets. His investment experience, gained initially at LDC and Barclays Ventures, has seen him involved in executing and managing over 50 transactions across a range of sectors. He began his career with Coopers & Lybrand, is a Chartered Accountant, and has a Management Science degree from Loughborough University.
Mark lives in the West Midlands, where he enjoys his passion for sport and playing the piano.
“At BGF, we feel immensely fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with many talented and hard-working entrepreneurial management teams and shareholders who are passionate about their business and wish to drive it forward to achieve greater success. My role is to offer support and encouragement to help make that happen.”
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