LONDON, 10 April 2012: Metric Capital Partners (“MCP”), the European private capital group, has announced today the completion of its investment in LM Funerals (“LMF”), a leading UK provider of funeral services, in conjunction with Duke Street and Babson Capital Europe. MCP has provided financing across several tranches of capital to fund the acquisition of LMF from Sovereign Capital, and will also be a significant shareholder in the business.
Headquartered in Wolverhampton, LM Funerals is the number 3 player in the UK market and has more than 60 branches concentrated in the Midlands and the South East. The company has grown by both acquisition and organic rollout since its inception. Typically each acquired business continues to trade under its original name post-acquisition and the original owners often also remain involved. This strategy ensures the preservation of trusted reputations and relationships that have been built over a sustained period. With more than 60% of the £1.5 billion funeral services market run by 2500 independent operators, there is still significant room for further consolidation and LMF is well placed to continue to be a credible and active acquirer.
The management team is led by chief executive Deborah Kemp and includes finance director Paul Moss, operations director Simon Beaumont and acquisitions director Russell Trenter, all of whom have a wide range of experience, both in the sector and in the retail, healthcare and consumer sectors. Johanna Waterous will join the board as non-executive chairman. Johanna spent more than 20 years at McKinsey & Company, where she co-led the firm’s European Retail and Global Consumer Marketing Practices. She is also an Operating Partner of Duke Street as well as a non-executive director of RSA Insurance plc and WM Morrisons plc.
John Sinik, Managing Partner of MCP, commented on the transaction: “We are extremely pleased with our investment in LMF. The company is led by a high quality management team focused on driving operational value and completing accretive acquisitions given the fragmentation of the industry. This transaction is entirely consistent with our investment philosophy, given the strong downside protection in our investment coupled with the opportunity to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns through our equity ownership”.
Giovanni Miele, Partner and Head of Origination of MCP, further commented: ” The stability of the industry, coupled with the highly cash generative nature of LMF and favourable market dynamics provide a solid foundation to our investment. We are also incredibly excited by the prospect of working with our partners and management on the further development of the business which has the potential to generate substantial upside for the investors in LMF”.
Financing for the acquisition was provided by HSBC, RBS, Babson Capital Europe, Metric Capital Partners and Alcentra.
Launched in May 2011, MCP is an independent private capital group which invests in European small and medium-sized firms by providing debt and equity solutions to support the execution of strategic transactions including MBOs, MBIs, growth/development capital, refinancing and rescue financing. The firm’s senior management includes:
John Sinik, Managing Partner, former Global Head of Corporate Credit at UBS and Partner at Towerbrook
Peter Cornell, Partner and Head of IR, former Global Managing Partner of Clifford Chance
Giovanni Miele, Partner and Head of Origination, formerly at UBS and Barclays Capital
John Connolly, Executive Chairman, former Global Chairman of Deloitte