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At Duke Street Private Equity, we have been investing in mature, mid-market Western European businesses for over twenty years. Our investment strategy is concentrated on four sectors: Consumer, Healthcare, Industrials & Engineering and Services. Typically we invest in companies with an enterprise value of between €50m - €350m. 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.
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.
Our mission is to accelerate the growth of the companies that we buy. We help our companies grow both organically and through acquisition.
We have developed a robust approach to building relationships between ourselves, the CEOs of our portfolio businesses and our Operating Partners.
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.
"At Duke Street we have always adopted a flexible and innovative approach whether raising money or investing and then transforming our companies"Paul Adams
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.
"By funding each investment on a bespoke basis from our club of investors, it ensures the maximum alignment of all parties"James Almond
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 actively seek out businesses in need of operational change. We are passionate about improving the companies we invest in"Stuart McMinnies
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.
"Our carefully targeted origination effort generally leads to transactions closed outside of competitive processes, allowing informed interaction with our companies to drive constructive change programmes"Charlie Troup
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.
SandpiperCI presented an interesting but complex opportunity as a conglomerate without focus. We spotted the opportunity to simplify the business and invest in its core asset, retail.
SandpiperCI, formerly CI Traders plc, was the result of a merger between several long-established Channel Island companies, notably leading food retailer Le Riche and Ann Street, the Islands’ largest pub operator.
SandpiperCI was uniquely placed to build on an already strong base in the attractive retail market of the Channel Islands.
We started working on the deal with SandpiperCI’s new Chief Executive Tony O’Neill in October 2006. Tony’s considerable retail experience was gained at Somerfield and Marks and Spencer.
In January 2007 we obtained exclusivity and we completed due diligence by June. The absence of competition was largely due to the complexity of both the corporate set-up and the deal.
CI Traders was the Channel Islands’ largest quoted company with a broadly held and loyal shareholder base. As well as taking the company private through a Scheme of Arrangement, we sold a substantial number of properties to the outgoing Chairman, subsequently leasing some of them back.
On acquisition, SandpiperCI’s retail operations comprised five supermarkets, 33 convenience stores and the Marks and Spencer franchise in Jersey. In addition to the retail business, Sandpiper had built a diverse portfolio of distribution, leisure and property development investments. The investment strategy was to dispose of the non-retail operations to focus Sandpiper back to its core retail business, to implement the best practice in ranging, buying and merchandising and to invest in new retails businesses including M&S stores. Duke Street partnered with Europa Capital to oversee the management of the property portfolio and to drive full value through a combination of property sales and developments.
By 2010 Sandpiper had sold the five supermarkets to Waitrose, the pubs and drinks portfolio along with surplus property. A successful refinancing in 2011 returned £29m to shareholders. 2013 saw the sale of St Pierre Park Hotel and a partial sale and leaseback of other properties. The remaining retail operations were grown though franchise agreements with major brands, including Costa (in the CI and Spain), Moss Bros, Burger King, Greggs, Crew, Jack Wills and Hotel Chocolat. The business was again refinanced in December 2014 enabling a further return of capital along with an extension of debt maturities, which provided the business with a facility to fund the rollout of Costa Coffee in Spain.
Sandpiper was sold in February 2016 to a consortium of Channel Island investors led by the Bailiwick Fund.
The Duke Street investor base comprises traditional funds and pools of committed capital alongside co-investment mandates from high quality investors, which include Fund of Funds, Pension Funds, Insurance Companies and Family Offices amongst others. Our investors are long-term supporters of the private equity model and are located across the globe with substantial support from North America and Europe.
Duke Street has invested over €3bn in more than 50 companies over the last 25+ years and has achieved strong returns in excess of 25% IRR throughout the cycle. Duke Street is an independent sponsor and itself invests substantially in each deal, ensuring maximum alignment between Duke Street, its investors and management teams.
5 Sep 2023
Well done Kent Pharma CEO Terry Petersen on securing the title of Most Influential Pharmaceutical Products Development & Supply CEO 2023 – UK from CEO Monthly. Read his interview at the link below.
Well done Kent Pharma CEO Terry Petersen on securing the title of Most Influential Pharmaceutical Products Development & Supply CEO 2023 – UK from CEO Monthly. Read his interview here.
11 Jul 2023
Whether for environmental or nostalgic reasons, or simply because trains are so much more relaxing than planes, rail holidays have surged in popularity in recent years. Many people are prepared to make the investment in – or a virtue of – the extra time it takes to get to places by train. Many of course are happy to travel independently, but Great Rail Journeys serves those who prefer to be looked after.
Whether for environmental or nostalgic reasons, or simply because trains are so much more relaxing than planes, rail holidays have surged in popularity in recent years. Many people are prepared to make the investment in – or a virtue of – the extra time it takes to get to places by train. Many of course are happy to travel independently, but Great Rail Journeys serves those who prefer to be looked after. A second-time winner in the Best Rail Operator category, the company is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first tour organised by its founders. During that half century, it has gradually expanded its programme of escorted journeys to meet the growing demand. Its imaginative programme – which includes a Complimentary Luggage Service so that you won’t have to handle your suitcase while travelling – now stretches from European favourites like the Swiss Glacier Express to the Indian Pacific in Australia and India’s Golden Triangle. In the UK its most popular tours include Railways and Castles of Wales and Vintage Railways of the Isle of Man. It also operates a programme of river and small-group barge cruises, and a tailor-made rail service for those who want a more bespoke itinerary or prefer not to travel in a group.
24 May 2023
COMPO's packaging made of recycled materials has been setting industry standards for years and has already won several prestigious sustainability awards. The packaging solutions are not conventional reusable solutions, as is the case in the beverage industry, for example, but packaging concepts that focus on one hundred percent recyclability in addition to the highest possible recyclate content.
Together with PreZero Polymers, COMPO achieved the final breakthrough in the optimization of liquid fertilizer bottles. For this, both companies were honoured at the international "Plastics Recycling Awards 2023" in the "Plastic Packaging Product" category.
The Plastics Recycling Awards Europe are presented annually in Amsterdam. The award winners are examples of progress in the recycling-oriented use of recycled materials, product design and innovative production.
PreZero Polymers and COMPO were rewarded with the award in the "Plastic Packaging Product" category for the joint further development of COMPO liquid fertilizer bottles. Both have worked consistently to find solutions to increase the use of post-consumer recyclates in the liquid fertilizer bottles to 100 percent. The enhanced liquid fertilizer bottles will replace the current packaging in the future. PreZero and COMPO have succeeded in finding a solution that reconciles the highest ecological demands with customer benefits and manageability.
“Responsible and sustainable solutions are firmly rooted at COMPO. People in the company have always been conscious of our responsibility for the environment. We offer our customers high-quality organic solutions in all areas.”
Stephan Engster, COMPO CEO
10 Jan 2023
We are pleased to present our Year in Review highlighting our two new recent investments and two realisations.
15 May 2023
Listen here to Charlie’s podcast reflecting on his year as BVCA Chair.
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. I was reminded of those words while looking back at my year as BVCA chair and considering how some significant events impacted on my plan for the key priorities that would shape my year. We saw unprecedented upheavals in the political landscape. That has resulted in some changes in the stakeholders we are dealing with and a refocusing of our engagement with them. However the BVCA is used to working with all political parties to address their priorities while making sure they understand those of our industry and we will continue to do so.
We saw the war in Ukraine and aftershocks from the pandemic creating a much worse economic outlook - rising inflation, higher interest rates, risk of recession. Clearly this will challenge many of our portfolio companies, but private capital’s active ownership model is well suited to dealing with such challenges. That model was seriously tested during the GFC, and the result was continued outperformance of private capital over public equity. And beyond that there will be really attractive investment opportunities – just as the private capital vintages immediately following the GFC were very strong. I also believe we will see investors continuing to allocate capital to our asset class over the next cycle - because the return outperformance that private capital delivers is a key part of their asset allocation strategy and helps them in turn deliver stronger returns for their investors, including millions of pensioners across the UK.
Alongside dealing with these developments, over the year we have made solid progress in communicating the reality of the private capital business model and the positive impact of private capital more generally.
Over the year, we have released a number of rigorous and robust reports that help to support the fact that private capital’s consistent outperformance of public markets is driven by long term investment in growth and creation of more resilient, higher quality businesses as opposed to cutting investment or costs. So there is more evidence out there to evidence the beneficial impact of private capital in our economy and communities that we are using to communicate that message clearly to stakeholders in politics, regulators, and the media.
Over the last year it has been a privilege to serve as chair of the BVCA working with the strong, committed team. I look forward to continuing to work with my successor, Garry Wilson, and the excellent BVCA team over the years ahead.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the BVCA’s foundation - 40 years of delivering world class training and events, of providing key technical and regulatory input and essential focused advocacy for our members. Over those 40 years the scale, capability, and impact of the BVCA has grown massively in lockstep with the private capital industry that we represent. I’m sure that both the private capital industry and the BVCA will still be thriving 40 years ahead.
Listen here to Charlie’s podcast reflecting on his year as BVCA Chair.
Managing Partner, Duke Street, and BVCA Chair 2022-23
30 Jan 2023
Headquartered in Waterford, Ireland, Suir is currently owned by EDF Energy Services, a joint venture between the French energy group EDF and Dalkia, an energy services and facilities management subsidiary.
Paul Adams, Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“We are delighted to acquire Suir Engineering, a market-leading business that is a great fit for our investment program and an exciting opportunity for Duke Street and our investors. The Duke Street investment team has previous successful experience in industrial services as well as Suir’s underlying sectors. Equipped with a skilled workforce, cutting-edge technology and a healthy pipeline of projects, Suir has significant growth potential in Europe across all of its highly attractive end sectors. We have been impressed with Suir’s growth strategy and we look forward to actively supporting the existing management team in delivering their ambitious plans.”
Michael Kennedy, Managing Director, Suir Engineering, said:
“We at Suir are looking forward to partnering with Duke Street who share our vision, values and ambition. Together, we will accelerate Suir’s growth by expanding the business proposition to include more international work in key client sectors such as technology, renewables and life sciences facilities. We believe this will consolidate our position as a leader in the provision of mechanical, electrical and instrumentation engineering services that are expertly delivered by our very experienced team.”
12 Sep 2022
Duke Street invested in the business in 2016, following a two-year period of origination focussed on the medical devices sub-sector. The transaction was complex, with a complicated shareholder structure in place, and the deal took close to a year to execute.
Since acquiring the business, Duke Street has backed the highly experienced management team – who will continue to lead the business post-transaction – to execute a strategy based on launching leading new products in its core therapeutic areas, and to consolidate and extend Medi-Globe’s international reach. Together with management, Duke Street’s stewardship of the business has driven significant operational improvement and accelerated growth rates of new products and into new markets. This work was alongside strategic refinement such as the sale of the non-core hospital supplies division Asid Bonz earlier this year to Medline International.
Charlie Troup, Managing Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“We are very pleased to announce the sale of Medi-Globe. Under our ownership, management has delivered a significant transformation across the business, involving investment across R&D, sales and marketing, and manufacturing. The positive development in business quality and growth has been recognised by DCC who see Medi-Globe as a key element of their strategic drive into healthcare. Our investment in Medi-Globe represents a classic Duke Street deal: an attractive entry multiple we delivered by seeing through a complex process; working with exceptional management to invest in growing the business swiftly and successfully during our period of ownership; and adding international expansion and securing an exit to trade, taking Duke Street’s recent record to twelve trade sales out of our last fifteen exits.”
Martin Lehner, CEO at Medi-Globe Group, commented:
“Medi-Globe is now performing strongly both financially and operationally, driven by the ongoing successful execution of our growth strategy. Duke Street has been a hugely supportive owner, developing that strategy with us and investing in the key resources to drive our position as a leading player in single-use endoscopy devices for the gastroenterology and urology sectors globally.”
22 Jun 2022
Duke Street is proud to announce the acquisition of another business by COMPO, Europe's leading supplier of branded products for the home and garden. The business, Heinr. Propfe Chem. Fabrik GmbH, is a highly specialised family-owned business that develops and produces innovative fertilisers using natural and organic raw materials. This deal follows the recent COMPO acquisition of Störk GmbH, a producer of ecologically sustainable potting soils.
"Heinr. Propfe Chem. Fabrik GmbH is a highly specialised family business and stands for extraordinary expertise in the premium quality organic fertiliser segment," COMPO Group CEO Stephan Engster commented "Joining the COMPO Group is a further step in our defined sustainability strategy and makes a valuable contribution to the expansion of our eco-sustainable product range – always in keeping with the COMPO quality guarantee. Customer benefits are always at the centre of the strategy. After all, environmental awareness, climate protection and sustainability are already a constant and firmly established part of the everyday lives of many hobby gardeners." Across Europe, organic products already have a revenue share of about 30 per cent in the market for soils, fertilisers, lawn care and plant protection. "It is reasonable to assume that this share will rise to more than 50 per cent across Europe. Organic is becoming the new normal," says Engster.
14 Jun 2022
A-ROSA has received a prestigious 2022 ‘German Award for Sustainability Projects’, winning the ‘Service – Transport’ category for its ground-breaking new ship, A-ROSA SENA.
These awards honour companies and organisations that have shown outstanding commitment and pioneering contributions to sustainability. They focus on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDGs) and their goal is to highlight sustainability at all levels, eventually inspiring others to start sustainable projects.
Commenting on the accolade, Jörg Eichler, CEO of A-ROSA Flussschiff GmbH said: “We are so proud to have received this award! Sustainability has always been important to us as river cruises are nothing without the incredible destinations they sail through. A-ROSA SENA takes things to the next level and plays a key role in our ambitious sustainability strategy. Her launch is a significant milestone for us in our aim to become the most sustainable river cruise operator on Europe’s rivers. Playing our part in protecting our planet for future generations is incredibly important to us.”
A-ROSA SENA has been designed and built with sustainability at its core from the very outset. From the hardware and sailing technologies that reduce emissions, to waste management, destination protection and social responsibility – she is the first in a new generation of ships from A-ROSA. Her ‘E-Motion’ concept is truly innovative, combining a diesel engine and a separate electric motor, which is powered by batteries. When approaching a port, the ship can switch to battery power, arriving silently and emission-free, thus reducing water, air and noise pollution. The vessel is equipped with a shore power connection, meaning the battery can be charged overnight. Her optimised hull design helps decrease energy consumption and she is the first river cruise ship in Europe with the ability to generate electricity from exhaust heat.
Sandra Wendland, sustainability manager at A-ROSA Flussschiff GmbH adds: “Our partnership with the world renowned Fraunhofer Institute is enabling us to create a roadmap for the future that makes us accountable and ensures we deliver on our sustainability goals.”
9 Jun 2022
We are delighted that our portfolio company Teamsport, the largest indoor go karting company in the UK, has made the UK’s Best Workplace once again in 2022.
Read more here to find out why and how they deserve this fantastic award:
28 Apr 2022
A-ROSA’s eco-friendly new cruise ship A-ROSA SENA is scheduled to set sail in June 2022. This innovative new ship is ideal for people who love cruising and also want to help reduce the environmental impact. The E-motion ship can come into port in an emission-free manner thanks to battery propulsion. Fuel consumption decreases and this helps keep the towns and cities en route clean.
Jörg Eichler, CEO of A-ROSA River Cruises, said: “A-ROSA SENA will lead the way in sustainable river cruising and will open up river cruising further to the next generation.”
Click here to read more about how A-ROSA SENA sets completely new standards and surpasses any river cruise ship you have ever seen.
5 Apr 2022
Asid Bonz is a leading supplier to hospitals in Germany, offering high-quality surgery, anesthesia, ward-supply and urology products. Asid Bonz was founded in 1811 and is known worldwide for the development of the first anesthetic ether. In 2021, Asid Bonz recorded over €30m in revenues and served over 1,100 hospitals in Germany.
With similar business models and reputations for outstanding customer service, the two companies have an excellent strategic fit. Looking forward, Medline will make the Asid Bonz brand available outside of Germany to its broad European customer base. Within Germany, the Asid Bonz sales force will have access to Medline products to strengthen their partnership with customers.
“We are excited to increase our product offering and work with this award-winning organization with a renowned customer focus”, said Tripp Amdur, Medline Europe Group President. “Medline is a relatively new player in urology and anesthesia. This acquisition grows our presence in these areas of the hospital. Asid Bonz’s employees, products and service have a long-standing and trusted reputation and this combination will enable us to better meet the needs of our healthcare customers and become a more valued partner”.
Martin Lehner, CEO of Medi-Globe Group added: “Asid Bonz is known for its unwavering commitment to its customers, providing high-quality medical products that are used to treat patients every day. We are sure that under the ownership of Medline, Asid Bonz will provide substantial avenues of growth in the future. The sale sharpens Medi-Globe’s focus on our core business, which is the development and marketing of innovative single-use solutions for minimally invasive clinical therapies”.
We anticipate the investment will be completed in May 2022 once merger control approval has been obtained and other closing conditions have been fulfilled.
1 Apr 2022
We are delighted to announce that Charlie Troup has been appointed by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) as Chair of its Council for the next year to 31st March 2023. Charlie brings to the role nearly 30 years’ experience in private equity, having supported businesses of all sizes and at all stages of growth. He is a Managing Partner and chair of the investment committee here at Duke Street having joined the firm in 2006.
Charlie has been Vice Chair of the BVCA’s Council for the past year, following 2 and half years as a council member, and closely involved in the association’s work on behalf of private capital. In what has been a busy year for the industry – supporting businesses across the country to weather the final stages of the pandemic, creating thousands of new jobs and leading on a number of high-profile deals – Charlie has already been heavily engaged in the BVCA’s work with both media and government.
In addition, Charlie has also supported the BVCA on its policy focus including how the industry supports the government’s Net Zero targets, how it can continue to improve and evolve its objectives around diversity and inclusion and its involvement in support for future savers following ongoing discussion around DC Pension Scheme investment in private equity and venture capital. These areas, as well as how the industry can play its part in the support of Ukraine, will continue to be priorities for Charlie and the BVCA during the next 12 months.
Charlie said about his appointment:
“I am excited to step up and represent the BVCA’s diverse membership over the next 12 months, following in the footsteps of Kerry Baldwin who has been outstanding in the role. Private equity and venture capital deliver so much for the country. Be it the industry’s unwavering support for SMEs, how it underpins over one million jobs or the part it plays in keeping the UK competitive on the global stage, I am thrilled to be able to advocate on its behalf.”
Michael Moore, Director General of the BVCA, said:
“We are all delighted to welcome Charlie as Chair at the point where our industry looks to increase its support for businesses in all corners of the United Kingdom. I am certain that Charlie’s experience in private capital will be critical this year as we look to further showcase the remarkable work of our members and help them drive growth; providing the capital, expertise and long-term view that enables companies to innovate and flourish.”
2 Feb 2022
COMPO Consumer, the leading supplier of branded goods for home and garden in Europe, will take over 100% of the shares in Störk GmbH, based in Nauen in the Berlin area. Störk has been serving its customers with a range of over 400 products such as peat-free and peat-reduced soils, mulches and biofilters for over 20 years. With its own brand Natumera® and a first-class private label range, the company generates double-digit million sales.
COMPO is constantly working on improving products and services and has been offering sustainable organic, high-quality products for a long time. With the successful öko balance line, COMPO is right in line with consumer trends. Together with Duke Street, COMPO will continue to improve its ecological footprint and focus even more strongly on activities for the sustainable design of our living space.
The integration of Störk GmbH supports our strategy of decentralized regional production. Regional production creates short distances to our trading partners and thus, makes a significant and measurable contribution to a further sustainable reduction in CO2 emissions and to climate protection.
Stephan Engster CEO of COMPO:
“Störk GmbH produces products of excellent quality and, in addition to very good manufacturing processes, has a first-class team of employees. The company and products are fully certified and meet the highest demands of trading partners. Together with Cordula Schmude and her team, we will continue to develop the company and can also count on the support of COMPO’s controlling shareholder Duke Street. The development of ecologically sustainable products and continuous improvement along the supply chain are of particular concern to all of us. The many years of trusting and successful cooperation between our companies has made the decision easier for all parties and stands for positive continuity.”
Cordula Schmude MD of Störk:
"We are pleased to be able to further expand our success story as a new member of the COMPO Group. The aim is to use the expertise and financial strength of the COMPO Group to deliver our promise of high-quality products and services to our long-term customers and partners of the company on an even stronger footing going forward, not only regionally, but now also nationwide.”
In terms of sustainability, COMPO SANA® potting soil, again recognized as German Brand of the Century, comprises soils which have been strictly RPP-certified for years, and consist of over 50% sustainable raw materials while packaging consists of over 60% recycled plastic. The soils, which are unique in their quality, all come from regional production. The company also wants to continue growing its peat-free COMPO organic soil line. In response to current trends, the peat-free organic range is being consistently expanded to include new special soils. In addition, all packaging consists of over 80% recycled plastic.
14 Jan 2022
Duke Street, a leading European mid-market private equity group and Partners Group, a leading global private markets firm, acting on behalf of its clients, have agreed to sell Voyage Care (or "the Company"), a provider of specialist care in the UK, to Wren House, the London-based global infrastructure investment manager.
Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Lichfield, Voyage Care provides specialist care and support to people with learning and physical difficulties, brain injuries, autism, and other complex needs across the UK. A large majority of those supported by the Company typically require high levels of support throughout their lives. Voyage Care supports over 3,500 people and has more than 10,000 members of staff. The Company's commitment to delivering the highest quality care is demonstrated by its industry-leading quality ratings. In England, 95%1 of Voyage Care's registered care homes are rated as 'Good' or 'Outstanding' by the independent Care Quality Commission, which far exceeds the market standard.
Duke Street and Partners Group acquired Voyage Care in 2014 alongside its management team. Key value creation initiatives introduced during the past seven years of ownership include: deepening the healthcare experience of its best-in-class management team with key strategic hires, continuing to invest in increasing its market-leading quality of care, further developing its specialisms, and expanding capacity via developments and select acquisitions. Voyage Care is well-positioned to continue consolidating the specialist care market whilst achieving its purpose of providing great quality care and support to those it serves.
Andrew Cannon, Chief Executive Officer, Voyage Care, comments:
"Voyage Care has a strong operational and reputational track record which has been driven by the successful execution of our growth strategy. Partners Group and Duke Street have been hugely supportive, investing in the key resources needed to maintain our position as a leading specialist care provider in the UK. We strive to deliver the highest possible levels of care across all our communities, as well as attract and retain the most skillful and dedicated care professionals."
Charlie Troup, Managing Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“We are very pleased to announce the sale of Voyage Care to Wren House. This is a company and sector that we know and understand very well. We have worked closely with management over this most recent and successful seven-year period of the Group’s development, backing the team to invest significantly in expanding the quality of care and support provided. Voyage Care is led by the best management team in the sector, which is continually recognised for its consistently high levels of care across its residential and community operations for over 3,500 people with complex needs in the UK. We firmly believe that Voyage Care has the right foundations from which to build and continue its success story under new ownership. We wish Wren House and the Voyage management continued success with the business"
1 Data correct as of November 2021
28 Jun 2021
Duke Street is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Kent Pharmaceuticals and Athlone Laboratories, manufacturers and distributors of specialist off-patent/generic pharmaceuticals, has agreed to acquire Dalkeith Group, the UK-based distributor of generic pharmaceutical and over-the-counter (OTC) products to wholesale, pharmacy and supermarket channels.
As of Monday 28th June 2021, Kent will integrate the operations of Dalkeith – namely Dalkeith Laboratories, Herbal Concepts & OTC Concepts – into its growing business. This will see Kent take ownership and responsibility for all sales, marketing and distribution across the Dalkeith portfolio, as well as continue the development of its strong pipeline. Dalkeith brings more than 25 marketing authorisations for generics and OTC products, along with a significant supply of own label products and supplier relationships with retailers such as Superdrug, Morrison’s and Wilko. Both leadership teams have worked closely together to ensure a quick and seamless transition.
The acquisition will enable Kent to further establish itself as a UK market leader in the large, growing and non-cyclical market for generic pharmaceuticals. It will add incremental value to the company’s portfolio of niche, value-added products, helping to better serve customers and patients across the wholesale pharmacy market and the NHS.
Charlie Troup, Managing Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“The Dalkeith acquisition represents another successful milestone for Kent who continue to execute a compelling growth strategy for the business. Dalkeith brings a diverse product portfolio, an exciting pipeline and robust IP. This makes it a very attractive investment – and one that closely aligns with our strategy of actively pursuing accretive bolt-on acquisitions. We look forward to continuing to actively support the Kent management team in delivering their ambitious plans.”
Debashis Dasgupta, CEO of Kent Pharmaceuticals & Athlone Laboratories, says:
“We are very pleased to acquire Dalkeith as we continue to drive Kent’s acquisitive and organic growth. Dalkeith is an established name in the industry and offers an exciting pipeline of niche products that will help accelerate our expansion by increasing our reach and providing high quality medicines for meeting patient’s daily needs. Fundamentally, the acquisition of Dalkeith strengthens our portfolio and pipeline and enhances our offering to customers – and this will help us to deliver the next chapter of our long-term growth strategy.”
15 Jun 2021
Ardent is thrilled to have won ‘Best Sustainability & CSR Award’ at the 2021 Hire Association of Europe (HAE) Awards for its innovative, not-for-profit, carbon offsetting initiative that enables customers to offset the emissions from their hired-in plant for just a few pounds extra a week.
Ardent’s sustainability strategy has four elements:
Further details at http://ow.ly/MMCv50ERyf8
3 Jun 2021
COMPO is a market leader across continental Europe, having established a wide range of technically superior products under one of the most respected and well-known brands in the industry. Its diverse product portfolio offers retailers and consumers ‘bio’ alternatives to traditional gardening product solutions, positioning COMPO ahead of its competitors in terms of sustainability. The organisation owns unrivalled production and distribution infrastructure and has established brands that are widely familiar to distribution customers and consumers alike.
COMPO can trace its roots to the 1950s, and it has been supporting gardeners across Germany and Europe ever since. In February this year, COMPO was recognised as one of the ten strongest product brands in Germany, securing 6th place in the ‘Best Overall Brand’ category at the prestigious Best Brands Marketing Awards.
Duke Street is backing a very strong management team as it seeks to build and consolidate COMPO’s position in the industry across Europe. The team is led by Stephan Engster as CEO of COMPO, who joined the business in 2016 and has developed an exciting growth strategy for the company, which is underpinned by continuous innovation and aligns with Duke Street’s vision for the opportunities presented in the sector.
The horticulture market has shown strong signs of growth as gardening boomed throughout lockdowns and has accelerated the trend of sustainable-conscious consumers seeking eco-friendly products to tend to their gardens.
Stephan Engster, CEO, COMPO, said:
“We at COMPO are thrilled to be partnering with Duke Street, who recognised and shared our ambition for this business and together we are ideally positioned to build a diversified European business to better serve our customers and end-consumers. In particular, we have the right blend of experience, ability and vision to accelerate our growth by expanding our reach and providing consumers across Europe with the most extensive range of organic, sustainable and traditional products. After enjoying the support of Kingenta for a number of years, the business is poised for this exciting next stage of its evolution. Sustainability is of particular importance for Duke Street and that aligns perfectly with our careful stewardship of this business and with the growing priorities of our customers and end-consumers.”
25 Nov 2020
Duke Street is very proud to announce that even in this annus horribilis for global travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Rail Journeys has been awarded two prestigious travel awards. With the support of valued customers, they are the winners of the Best Escorted Tour Operator category by the Times and Sunday Times Travel Awards 2020.
In addition, and for the third year in a row, celebrating the very best in travel for the over 50’s, they are the winners of the Best Rail Holiday Company in the acclaimed Silver Travel Awards 2020.
25 Nov 2020
As a partner and sponsor of the Global Health Challenge, Medi-Globe Group donated to the Masks for Ethiopia project in 2020. The competition, organised by the Technical University Munich, involved students resolving problems that inhibit medical supply in developing countries in the most innovative way.
As a partner and sponsor of the Global Health Challenge, Medi-Globe Group donated to the Masks for Ethiopia project in 2020. The competition, organised by the Technical University Munich, involved students resolving problems that inhibit medical supply in developing countries in the most innovative way. 2020 proved to be the most challenging year yet. Given a theme of “Corona“, students had the opportunity to develop and elaborate new ideas and concepts. The students began working on solutions such as respiratory masks, respirators and protective equipment and it soon became apparent that practical assistance would be the main focus for the students this year.
The winning team came up with the exciting idea to create protective masks from conventional coffee filters. These masks offer the same protection as professional masks. Half a million of these Masks for Ethiopia have already been developed and shipped, thanks to Medi-Globe’s donation. They will be handed over to the Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa to help the people in their fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19.
Read here: https://medi-globe.com/support-for-ethiopia/
10 Nov 2020
Following the suspension of its cruises, A-Rosa River Cruises has donated all the unused perishable goods from its Rhine ships to a charity in Cologne. The charity was pleased to accept the donation and the crew assisted the volunteers who came to collect the goods.
Jorg Eichler, A-Rosa chief executive, said: “We fully support the government’s measures aimed at reducing infection rates and wanted to ensure that, despite the sudden nature with which we had to stop our cruises, the food on board our ships did not go to waste.
“Cologne Tafel is a well-known charity in our Rhine fleet’s home port city of Cologne that supports the local community and we were really pleased that we were able to give something back to those in need in these challenging times.”
15 Sep 2020
A-ROSA AQUA and A-ROSA BRAVA underwent rigorous assessment, achieving particularly high scores in the safety and environmental protection categories. With a strong focus on sustainability across its entire fleet, the shipping company is hopeful that further ships will qualify for the award in the near future.
Established in 1994, on a voluntary basis, the Green Award program encourages cleaner and safer maritime shipping. Since its inauguration, several ships and shipping companies from across the world achieved Green Award certification in the areas of quality, safety and the environment. Effective 2011, the Green Award foundation developed a program for inland shipping, which has been a great success to date and is very popular with inland shipping companies. Criteria such as shore power connections and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment systems are considered to be of particular importance.
The certification of its fleet is a core component of A-ROSA’s comprehensive sustainability strategy. The general reduction of resource consumption, further development of efficient energies and sustainable development of visited destinations’ infrastructure are other elements of the cruise line’s strategy.
15 Sep 2020
Ardent is today leading the plant hire industry by announcing an innovative carbon offsetting programme. In partnership with ClimateCare, the expert at financing, managing and developing climate projects, Ardent is offering a not-for-profit carbon offsetting service to its customers. For just a few pounds extra a week, customers can offset their greenhouse gas emissions and make their hires carbon neutral. Carbon charges are displayed separately to hire charges on invoices and funds are used to offset emissions with carbon credits from Gold Standard projects that are independently verified for their carbon reduction volumes.
As an extra first step, Ardent has paid to offset the 3,600 tonnes of CO2 produced annually by its 55 HGVs, meaning that all customer deliveries and collections are carbon neutral up to the end of April 2021.
Electric machines and alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, will undoubtedly substitute diesel machines at some point in the future, but due to a number of factors, including capital cost, power limitations and access to charging, this shift is currently not possible. In the meantime, while we wait for the right technologies to become a reality, we must take responsibility for our unavoidable emissions today.
Jeremy Fish, CEO said, “I want customers to know that we are totally committed to helping our industry reduce its carbon footprint. Carbon offsetting is a practical, affordable solution for making hires carbon neutral, that can be acted upon today. The investment we have made in offsetting the emissions from our HGV fleet shows our concern and determination to make a difference.”
Robert Stevens, Director of Partnerships at ClimateCare, said, “Clearly, Ardent’s innovative approach is taking a lead in the plant hire sector and we are delighted to be working with them on this very important initiative. Our trademark Climate+Care approach helps organisations take a smart approach to addressing their environmental impacts by offsetting their carbon emissions through projects which also support sustainable development”.”
Jeremy adds, “Carbon offsetting is just one part of the equation. We are equally passionate about carbon reduction. Users of our multi-award-winning Site Manager, which now has over 1,000 users, will already have already seen how they can reduce their carbon emissions and save money at the same time.”
5 Dec 2019
Duke Street is delighted to announce that its portfolio company Great Rail Journeys won Best Escorted Tour Operator at the News International Travel Awards, which was voted for by The Times and The Sunday Times readers. This is another accolade to add to the many awards received over the years for continuing to provide wonderful, first class holidays by rail to over 50 countries globally.
14 Nov 2019
Duke Street congratulates our portfolio company Voyage Care on winning The Specialist Care Provider of the Year 2019 at the Laing Buisson awards. Voyage Care is the UK’s leading provider of support for people with learning difficulties and associated physical disabilities, autistic spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury and other complex needs.
14 Aug 2019
Duke Street, the leading European midmarket private equity group, announces that Great Rail Journeys, acquired by Duke Street in July 2018, has agreed to acquire Vacations By Rail, the largest independent US based provider of escorted and independent rail holidays. VBR’s founder and management team will reinvest as part of the transaction and will obtain a minority stake in the enlarged company. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.
York based Great Rail Journeys offers almost 400 itineraries to over 50 countries globally. Over the last five years GRJ has performed strongly, tapping into new source markets for its rail tours including Australia and more recently the US. In 2018 the business launched a highly differentiated premium river cruise offering which builds upon very strong pre-existing demand for such holidays from within its customer database.
Established in 2004, Vacations By Rail offers US customers the largest selection of independent rail vacations, escorted rail tours, luxury rail journeys and custom train vacations to destinations in North America, Europe and beyond. Major destination areas in the US include the Rockies and West (National Parks), the Pacific Northwest and Alaska as well as New England. Canadian destinations include Western Canada, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, as well as iconic cross-Canada rail routes.
The two companies already enjoy a commercial relationship, with VBR marketing a number of GRJ tours to its North American customer base, and this acquisition offers the opportunity to build on existing synergies. The combination of VBR with GRJ is a compelling proposition: it accelerates strategic growth ambitions for both companies, drives operational synergies and brings together a highly desirable and complementary blend of skills and expertise across marketing, product and technology.
Peter Liney, CEO of Great Rail Journeys, said:
“We have enjoyed for some time a very good working relationship with Todd, Cole and the team at Vacations By Rail. We know they are first class operators and have built an enviable position in North America as the leading independent and escorted provider of holidays by rail. I am delighted to welcome them to Great Rail Journeys and I look forward to working closely with them and their senior team. The combination of our two companies, supported by the corresponding skills and expertise of our two organisations, will greatly increase the choice and enhance the global travel experience for all our customers.”
Todd Powell, Co-founder of Vacations By Rail, said:
“We are delighted to be growing our partnership with GRJ, building on our strong working relationship to date. The combination of our two companies represents a significant opportunity to grow our footprint in the rail vacation sector domestically and internationally, as well as accelerate into new markets. We look forward to formally becoming part of the GRJ family.”
The transaction was supported by financing from Barings, GRJ’s existing term debt lender.
24 Jul 2019
2018 was a very active year for Duke Street with three new investments with a combined enterprise value of £325m and a successful exit.
5 Jun 2019
Duke Street, the leading European midmarket private equity group, announces that it has agreed to acquire Kent Pharmaceuticals and Athlone Laboratories (“Kent” or the “Group”), manufacturers and distributors of specialist off-patent/generic pharmaceuticals with locations in both the UK and Ireland. Kent is currently owned by DCC Vital. *
Kent is a UK market leader in several niche products in the large, growing and non-cyclical market for generic pharmaceuticals, selling primarily to the hospital and pharmacy wholesaler channels. Its portfolio of products is diversified across multiple therapeutic areas, with particular strengths in analgesics, anti-infectives and penicillins. Kent portfolio contains mainly niche, value-added products, which are complex to manufacture. A strong pipeline of new product development opportunities has already been put in place by the management. Athlone Laboratories is a leading European manufacturer of specialist beta-lactum antibiotics based in Ireland.
Duke Street is backing a strong management team at Kent, led by Chief Executive Debashis Dasgupta, who joined DCC Vital two years ago, bringing strong international experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry with previous senior leadership positions in Sanofi and Ranbaxy. Debashis and his leadership team have developed a compelling growth proposition for Kent & Athlone, which aligns with Duke Street’s vision for the opportunities presented in the sector. Duke Street’s strategy will focus on new product development and expansion into other selected branded generic markets across the EMEA region, building further on the highly diversified and scaled specialist generics business it is today. Kevin James, an experienced generics CEO/Chairman, will contribute a strong combination of skills and experience as non-Executive Chairman.
Charlie Troup, Managing Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“We are very pleased to acquire Kent, a market-leading business that we believe represents a significant opportunity for Duke Street and our investors. Pharma carve-outs is a focus thesis area for Duke Street and our investment in Kent represents a classic Duke Street deal: a complex carve-out transaction, backing a talented management team to implement a focussed growth strategy, driven by investment. The transaction and the opportunity are similar to Baywater Healthcare which we carved out from a USA multinational and exited to trade buyers in 2017. Debashis and his leadership team have developed a compelling growth plan for the business. We look forward to working closely with him to support and deliver that plan, alongside Kevin James as Chairman.”
Debashis Dasgupta, CEO, commented:
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Duke Street. Charlie Troup and his Partners have recognised our ambition for this business. Together with Kevin James, we have the right blend of experience, ability and vision to accelerate our growth by expanding our reach and providing high quality generic medicines for meeting patient’s daily needs. After a number of years within the supportive framework of DCC Vital, the business is poised for this exciting next stage of its evolution as a focussed and independent entity with Duke Street’s backing.”
The acquisition of Kent is the third new investment by Duke Street in the last 18 months, following the acquisition of Great Rail Journeys, the world’s leading provider of escorted rail holidays in July 2018; and A-ROSA, the German premium river cruise operator in February 2018.
* The transaction is subject to usual consents and conditions
20 Dec 2018
Around 4,000 staff will share in a £4m bonus pot as part of a payout ordered by the outgoing chief executive, Jane Holbrook, and Duke Street.
30 Oct 2018
Duke Street has agreed to sell Wagamama to The Restaurant Group plc, one of the UK's largest independent restaurant groups, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Duke Street will sell Wagamama for an enterprise value of £559 million, generating a 3.4x money multiple for the firm.
Wagamama was established in London’s Bloomsbury in 1992 and is based in the United Kingdom. Wagamama operates popular, award-winning noodle restaurants and offers fresh, pan-Asian cuisine in a friendly, vibrant setting. The menu features a wide variety of noodle and rice dishes, as well as salads and side dishes, juices, hot drinks, wine, sake and Asian beers. Many Wagamama signature dishes can be found in all of the Group’s restaurants across the globe and the restaurants also have local specialties that take advantage of regional produce and tastes.
Duke Street acquired Wagamama in 2011 for £215 million when the Group had 70 restaurants. Since 2011 Duke Street has worked closely with Wagamama’s management team to transform the business. Wagamama now has 133 restaurants in the UK, almost double the number since Duke Street first invested, 5 outlets in the USA (across Boston, Massachusetts and New York City) and 58 franchise restaurants operating in 23 markets spread across Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and New Zealand.
Wagamama continues to trade very strongly and is the outstanding performer in the UK casual dining sector. The Company has demonstrated a strong track record of like-for-like revenue growth with 228 consecutive weeks of positive performance. Over this period, the annual like-for-like growth was 9.6%, and on average 8.5% ahead of the market, as measured by the Coffer-Peach tracker. Wagamama generated revenue of £307m and EBITDA of £43m post pre-opening costs in the twelve months to 19 August 2018. Wagamama delivered a 17% UK revenue CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between FY 2015 and FY 2018.
Peter Taylor, Managing Partner at Duke Street, commented:
“We are very proud to announce the sale of Wagamama to The Restaurant Group. This is one of the largest ever transactions in the UK casual dining space, a market which has been challenging in recent years. Duke Street has supported an outstanding management team under Jane Holbrook’s leadership to transform the company and ensure that Wagamama has emerged as the standout success story of the UK casual dining sector.
“Our investment in Wagamama represents a classic Duke Street deal: a complex transaction that we delivered in 2011 outside an auction process; working with management to grow the business swiftly and successfully during our period of ownership; adding international expansion and a popular delivery function; and securing an exit to trade, taking Duke Street’s recent record to ten trade sales out of our last twelve exits. These are exciting times for the firm: our recently enhanced investment team is delivering a strong pipeline of attractive opportunities for our investors and partners.”
Jane Holbrook, CEO of Wagamama, commented:
“Wagamama has enjoyed a very strong track record both financially and operationally, driven by the ongoing successful execution of our growth strategy. Duke Street has been hugely supportive, investing heavily in the key resources to drive our position as the UK’s leading casual dining chain, while also helping us take the business and the brand to a growing international customer base.”
The sale of Wagamama follows recent successful exits by Duke Street from its investments in Baywater Healthcare UK and LM Funerals. The exit from Baywater generated a total cash return of more than 5x for Duke Street and the sale of its stake in LM Funerals generated a return of 2.6x.
In the last 12 months the firm has made three new investments, acquiring Great Rail Journeys, the world’s leading provider of escorted rail holidays in July 2018; acquiring A-ROSA, the German upmarket river cruise operator in February 2018; and buying a controlling interest in TeamSport Karting, the UK’s largest indoor go-karting operator, in October 2017.
On this transaction Goldman Sachs International acted as sole financial advisor to Wagamama and Duke Street; Latham and Watkins provided legal advice, exclusively.
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