A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pan-Asian restaurant chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Online travel agency

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Leading plant hire business

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Leading UK dentistry chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pioneering UK value retailer

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Specialist provider of healthcare services

We invest in Western European mid-market companies

Duke Street Private Equity has been investing in mature, mid-market West European businesses for over twenty years, concentrating our investment strategy on four sectors: Consumer, Healthcare, Industrials & Engineering and Services. Typically we invest in companies with an enterprise value of between £50m - £250m. Our strategy is based on our ability to identify unique opportunities and add value to each business we acquire. We aim to transform the prospects of companies in which we invest.

Origination beyond the obvious

We focus our efforts on transactions developed on an exclusive basis. We actively seek complex deals which other investors may avoid if we think they have underlying growth potential.

Value creation

Our mission is to accelerate the growth of the companies that we buy. We help our companies grow both organically and through acquisition.

Supportive Structure

We have developed a robust approach to building relationships between ourselves, the CEOs of our portfolio businesses and our Operating Partners.

Sector focus

We believe sector knowledge is critical, which is why we have dedicated teams focusing on our four core sectors. This, alongside the deep industry experience of our Operating Partners, has allowed us to create a proven track record of successfully building companies.

We invest in companies with strong brands serving consumers across multiple channels

We have extensive experience in the consumer sector: in restaurants with wagamama, in the gaming sector through our investment in companies such as Gala Bingo, Sporting Index and Leisure Link. In leisure, we have invested successfully in both niche hotel operators and fitness and leisure businesses. Two of our investments in particular – SandpiperCI and The Original Factory Shop – display our willingness to back retail management teams with ambitious growth plans, even at a time when the sector as a whole was experiencing tough trading.

We also have a wealth of experience of working with management teams in consumer branded products. At Simple, we backed an ambitious growth plan for the business to become the UK’s leading skin care provider by volume, overtaking companies such as Nivea and L’Oreal in the process.

See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further Consumer investments.

Duke Street is a long-term investor in the healthcare space, making our first investment in 1997

Since then we have deployed c. €700m in the sector, backing great management teams to deliver transformational business plans.

We believe the sector to be structurally attractive: it is defensive and benefits from significant barriers to entry due to the complexity of the products and services involved.

We also believe that it lends itself well to our investment strategy. Europe is home to a large number of strong management teams, and high value-added businesses which deliver outstanding patient outcomes. Such businesses typically offer multiple routes to value creation. Even the most mature sub-sectors remain fragmented and so there is significant potential for buy and build.

Please see our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of our past and present Healthcare investments.

We cover a broad range of Industrials sub-sectors with a particular focus on aerospace & defence, engineering, manufacturing & security

We look to invest in companies with differentiated product or process IP, operating in attractive end-markets, with scope to affect operational transformation through inter alia, a build-up in specific niches, technological changes, or product / geographic diversification.

We back management teams with a clear strategic vision as well as a strong operational focus; and our in-depth understanding of the sector means we are well-placed to work in partnership with such teams.

Our investments in this sector include Deloro Stellite, the specialist engineering group, and filtration solutions provider Madison Filter. See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further investments.

We invest in services businesses with the potential for operational improvement and rapid growth

The services sector encompasses a wide range of sub-sectors, each subject to its own dynamics but often with outsourcing as a key driver. We identify macro trends that will drive above average market growth, and then back businesses providing value added skills and products to their customers in those markets. We are particularly attracted where there is the potential for operational improvement as well as organic growth. We partner with best-in-class management teams providing support, capital and expertise where this is required and materially adds value.

We have considerable experience in the sector, complemented by a large network of industry contacts. Investments we have made in this sector include Ardent Hire Solutions, a heavy equipment hire business, Payzone, a consumer payments business, and the specialist pensions group Xafinity. See our Portfolio for a more in-depth analysis of these and further Services investments.

Our Portfolio

Focus

SECTOR: Consumer

www.focusdiy.co.uk

Major UK DIY retailer

Backing high-quality management

Back in 1987 we helped Focus acquire a small regional chain of six DIY stores. Under the direction of Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Archer and Finance Director Geoff Wilson and with our financial backing, Focus went on to become the UK’s second largest DIY retailer with sales of over £1.66 billion, 430 stores nationwide and over 13 million square feet of net selling space.

Our support of Bill Archer and Geoff Wilson through a succession of acquisitions and disposals demonstrates our commitment to backing high-quality management and our appetite for leveraged build-ups.

Consolidating the UK DIY industry

Duke Street’s long-investment in Focus started in August 1998 when we backed the acquisition of the loss-making Do It All chain from Boots for £68 million. The deal trebled the size of Focus’ business to 210 stores and for the first time gave it a truly national presence. And it showed our willingness to invest in complex turnaround situations.

It didn’t take long for the management team to identify growth opportunities and realise the benefits of greater scale. In September 2000 Focus Do It All acquired Wickes for an aggregate consideration of £325 million. Trading from 130 sites across the country Wickes specialised in trade customers and serious home improvers. The deal gave Focus Wickes a unique strength, able to service the increasingly converging ‘light’ and ‘heavy’ DIY markets through its discrete brands, at the same time enjoying the benefits of scale.

Hot on the heels of the Wickes acquisition, Focus Wickes acquired the Great Mills DIY retail chain from RMC plc for £285 million in December 2000, becoming the second largest DIY retailer in the UK. Like Focus, Great Mills concentrated on the lighter side of the DIY business and with 98 stores, mainly in the South West, it was an excellent geographic fit. These two acquisitions played a major role in the consolidation of the UK DIY industry.

Exit

In November 2002, Duke Street and its co-investors sold 28.9% of Focus Wickes to Apax Partners as part of a recapitalisation of the business.

In February 2005 Focus Wickes sold Wickes to Travis Perkins plc. At the time of sale Wickes had grown to 172 stores. Focus was sold in July 2007 to a company backed by Cerberus European Investments LLC.

Our Team

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Contact

Duke Street

Nations House,
103 Wigmore Street,
London W1U 1QS

Tel: +44 (0)20 7663 8500
Fax: +44 (0)20 7663 8501

Email us

mail@dukestreet.com

You can use the email address above, or write to us for additional security. Enquiries will of course be treated in strictest confidence from time of receipt but we cannot guarantee the security of email (or other) communications with us.