A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Pan-Asian restaurant chain

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Manufactures and distributes medical devices

A leading private equity firm investing in Europe

Plant hire business

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 the companies that we invest in.

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

Marie Brizard

SECTOR: Consumer

Independent drinks producer and distributor

Our investments do not, of course, always run smoothly. Part of our success lies in our willingness to back management teams through the hard times with additional investment to put the business on a firmer footing. When the very able management team at Marie Brizard needed additional capital to fund their growth we supported them with a new injection of cash. It allowed them to make a vital acquisition that put them back as a force to be reckoned with in the all-important French whisky market.

An appetite for complex deals

Duke Street took control of Marie Brizard in May 2000, when the family-owned drinks business was experiencing commercial and financial difficulties. The company was listed on the second market of the Paris Stock Exchange. By negotiating with a substantial group of shareholders we acquired a 53% block and finally launched a mandatory tender offer for the minority quoted on the Paris Stock Exchange.

This was a hugely complex transaction. Marie Brizard was made up of a maze of different companies and products, and had only just begun to emerge from financial restructuring. As well as strengthening the company strategically and in the market, the deal demonstrated our willingness to enter into complicated transactions in order to back a team that was ready to transform its business.

Turning the business around

Having achieved effective control, we appointed new management. Our contacts on the ground in France meant we were able to approach a team that would see the opportunity and value in Marie Brizard, and turn the business around. New managers included Eric Brousse as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Jean-François Le Bos as Finance and Strategy Director.

With our support, they set about accelerating the company’s growth strategy, acquiring two additional alcoholic drinks businesses, Les Chais Beaucairois in August 2002 and William Pitters in March 2005, and disposing of non-core operations.

Les Chais Beaucairois was the third largest independent wine producer in France, and brought with it large state-of-the-art production capacities leading to reduced production costs and increased volumes. William Pitters International boosted Marie Brizard’s strategic positions in spirits – particularly the all-important whisky market - and strengthened its market weight in supermarket distribution. It was also able to cut operational costs in a matter of months by merging the two companies’ sales forces.

Focussing the business

Under our control Marie Brizard successfully repositioned itself as a company that focussed on spirits, wines and alcohol-free drinks.

To achieve this, we sold off the Group’s non-strategic subsidiaries. These included Sorevi wines (2004), SNCB wines (2003), US Marie Brizard Wines and Spirits subsidiary (2003) and its gastronomic division (2005).

In September 2003, we refinanced Marie Brizard’s debt, leading to a more flexible financing structure and substantial interest savings. Additionally the company was able to optimise its production and distribution operations.

Exit

In April 2006, we sold Marie Brizard to Belvedere, the French spirits company backed by CL Financial.

Our Team

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Investors

Duke Street has invested £2.4bn and realized £3.7bn since 1994, and currently manages over £500m AUM. Our model ensures maximum alignment between investors and management teams and provides flexibility as well as certainty of funding. Fundraising is aligned with our own internal investment committee process, ensuring timely execution.



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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.