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.
Thierry brings to Duke Street his extensive experience of consumer-facing businesses. During his career he spent 22 years at L’Oréal, the cosmetics giant, working in a number of executive roles including Managing Director of the German operations and then of Eastern and Southern Europe. Finally he became Managing Director of the French consumer business.
Later he was Chairman of the Management Board of Reemtsma, the world’s fourth largest cigarette manufacturer, based in Hamburg. Following Reemtsma’s acquisition by Imperial Tobacco, Thierry became CEO of Facom, the leading European hand tool manufacturer. On its sale to Stanley Works, he became President of Stanley Europe.
He is Chairman of Fullsix (advertising agency), Non-Executive Director of Henkel AG in Düsseldorf, of Oeneo SA in Paris and of the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce.
Thierry is a graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
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 €2.5bn in more than 50 companies over the last 25 years and has achieved strong returns in excess of 20% IRR throughout the cycle. Duke Street adopted a deal-by-deal funding strategy in 2012, subsequently raising committed capital to invest alongside its co-investment mandates. Duke Street itself invests substantially in each deal ensuring maximum alignment between Duke Street, its investors and management teams.
28 Apr 2022
A-ROSA’s eco-friendly new cruise ship A-ROSA SENA is scheduled to set sail in May 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.
2 Jul 2018
Duke Street, the UK based mid-market private equity firm, has acquired Great Rail Journeys (‘GRJ’), the world’s leading provider of escorted rail holidays, from ECI. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
York based Great Rail Journeys offers almost 400 itineraries to over 50 countries globally. GRJ caters for a growing demographic group of culturally interested 55+ year old travellers who typically prioritise travel spend within their household budgets. Popular itineraries include a tour of India’s “Golden Triangle”, exploring the Swiss Alps on the Glacier Express and an iconic journey across Africa from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town. Last year, over 50,000 customers enjoyed a GRJ holiday and the Company is proud that over half of its business each year comes from its database.
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, following the establishment of an office in New York in 2017. The business has also just launched, for summer 2019, a unique and highly differentiated rail based premium river cruise offering which builds upon very strong pre-existing demand for such holidays from within its customer database.
Duke Street plans to support the existing management team, led by Peter Liney, to develop the business’ rail and cruise offerings further, both in the UK and internationally, building on their significant experience in the leisure sector. Following the acquisition, Charles Gurassa will be appointed as Chairman. As well as extensive experience of the travel sector gathered during his executive career, Charles’ current non-Executive board roles include Chairman of Channel 4, Deputy Chairman of Easyjet and Senior Independent Director at Merlin Entertainments.
Tom Salmon, Partner at Duke Street, said:
“Our experience of backing market leaders in growing segments of the European leisure sector makes Great Rail Journeys a very exciting investment proposition. It is an outstanding business which delivers very high quality service to its clients. Having known Peter Liney for a number of years, we are looking forward to working with him, Charles Gurassa and the wider team to continue to grow the business both in the UK and internationally.”
Peter Liney, CEO of Great Rail Journeys, said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with Duke Street. The team very quickly demonstrated a clear understanding of our business, and their experience both of growing businesses in the US and of river cruising was highly attractive to us. After five great years of working with ECI, who have helped us to internationalise the business, add new product lines, grow our profits and develop our management team, we are very excited to embark on the next chapter of our story with Duke Street.”
21 May 2018
Duke Street partner James Almond has been featured by Financial News in the magazine’s annual review of the 25 men and women under the age of 40 who stand out in the European private equity industry.
James joined Duke Street in 2015 and is responsible for fundraising, running the co-investment programme and investor relations.
Beyond his role at Duke Street, James is active in voluntary work both relating to private equity and in creating greater value for charities and social enterprise. He is a Guest Lecturer in Private Equity at the London Business School and a Senior Advisor to the Charities Aid Foundation.
14 Mar 2018
2017 was a very active year for Duke Street with two new funds of committed capital, two exciting new investments and three successful exits.
8 Mar 2018
Ardent Hire Solutions has been awarded FORS Gold status by the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme – the highest grade achievable for fleet operators.
The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme encompasses all aspects of safety, fuel efficiency, economical operations and vehicle emissions and contributes to improving sustainability and corporate social responsibility practices in the sector.
Commenting on the importance of FORS to Ardent, the group’s Safety, Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Director, Garry Orr, said:
“Ardent embarked on its FORS journey in 2011, after seeing the growing need to improve Health and Safety within the construction industry. We became Bronze certified in May 2011 and quickly realised that the certification was worthwhile in helping us improve our H&S targets. We noticed the value delivered from having rigorous and robust transport management, quality and compliance, policy and procedures.
“We are committed to providing a safe working environment for all our employees and the FORS toolkits have helped us achieve this. We believe that one of the most important factors is upskilling our drivers by giving up to date, relevant training. As a result we have improved driver retention. Today our drivers are much more aware of the emphasis our business places on their safety.
“Over the last 12 months we have implemented a rigorous programme of vehicle replacement with Euro VI engines to reduce emissions. In addition, our transport units are fitted with reverse cameras, monitors in the cab, side scanners and white noise indicators as standard. All of these features help us improve H&S and increase public safety. Together with Driver Toolbox Talks (TBTs) we have seen significant reductions in incidents and Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
“We have been promoting FORS to all our hauliers and have introduced Silver standard as a minimum requirement for them being a part of our supply chain.
“We believe the FORS Gold standard clearly shows to all our peers and clients our stance regarding road safety not only in the workplace but also by promoting further training for our drivers to recognise them from being an HGV driver to an HGV professional.”
7 Mar 2018
Duke Street, the midmarket private equity group, is pleased to announce two key appointments.
Duke Street, the midmarket private equity group, is pleased to announce two key appointments.
Tom Salmon joins as a Partner having spent 13 years at 3i, the international private equity and infrastructure investor.
At 3i, Tom was a Partner with responsibility for the group’s activity in the Consumer sector in the UK. He led 3i’s investment in Audley Travel, where he was also a non-executive Director, and represented the group on the Board of Hobbs, the women’s fashion group. In addition, Tom has considerable investment experience in the Services sector, having played a key role in deals including JMJ and NCP. Previously, Tom spent a year on secondment in Madrid with responsibility for a number of 3i’s investments in Spain.
Tom is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a first class honours degree in Modern History from Oxford University.
Hugo Strachan joins as an Investment Manager, responsible for executing transactions and supporting deal origination in the Business Services and Healthcare sectors. Hugo previously worked at RJD Partners, a UK private equity fund, where he worked on management buyouts across a range of sectors including Business Services, Leisure and Education. Prior to RJD, Hugo worked in the Strategy team at PwC, providing due diligence to private equity, venture capital and corporate clients.
Hugo is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has a degree in Finance from Newcastle University.
Welcoming Tom and Hugo to Duke Street, Peter Taylor, Managing Partner, said:
“These are important appointments for Duke Street, strengthening our expertise in three key sectors for our group. Our pipeline of potential investments is very strong and we look forward to working with Tom and Hugo to progress the best of those deals.”
2 Mar 2018
Casual dining may be in the doldrums yet while the likes of Jamie’s Italian, Byron and Prezzo undergo painful restructurings and closures, wagamama is bucking the trend.
While most of its rivals are losing sales, the noodle bar chain yesterday reported an 8.2 per cent jump in its UK like-for-like sales in the third quarter, an acceleration on the 7.1 per cent growth seen in the second quarter.
Its total turnover rose by 12.5 per cent to £72.1 million in the three months to January 28, lifting revenues for the first 40 weeks of its financial year to £229.5 million, up 13.5 per cent. Underlying earnings for the year to date are up 0.9 per cent to £35.1 million amid supply chain and wage cost increases and it made a loss after interest, tax and refinancing costs of £6.6 million.
The group, backed by Duke Street and Hutton Collins, has opened six UK restaurants and two in America this year while adding eight new overseas franchises, including three in Madrid. It has 185 restaurants, of which 129 are in the UK.
Jane Holbrook, chief executive, said the group had “continued to trade ahead of the competition consistently for more than three years” amid continuing investment in staff and innovation such as its new vegan menu.
1 Mar 2018
German river cruise line A-Rosa reported a 6% increase in revenue to £77.1 million for 2017. The operator revealed on Tuesday that all global markets were performing well and reported an increase in both operating profit and revenue for the fourth year running.
Lucia Rowe, head of A-Rosa UK, said the line’s revenue for the year so far was up 20% up compared to the same time last year. A-Rosa’s 2017 figures were released as the Federal Cartel Office in Germany approved its acquisition by British investors Duke Street. Duke Street agreed the acquisition from Waterland Private Equity in January.
Rowe said: “2017 was a great year for A-Rosa globally with many contributing factors, including our new route on the Seine which has proved a popular choice and the increasing demand from customers to see more whilst away.
“Sales for 2018 have started well and we are already 20% up on where we were this time last year.
“We remain totally committed to working only with our trade partners and agents and it is going to be an exciting year.”
More than 85,000 passengers were carried on board A-Rosa river cruises in 2017.
22 Feb 2018
Now in their third year, the Casual Dining Restaurant & Pub Awards are one of the highlights of the hospitality sector’s calendar. For the second time in as many years, wagamama has scooped the award for large multi-site restaurant brand of the year, which is judged on commercial success and overall excellence including innovation, staffing, design, marketing, menus and customer satisfaction.
wagamama continues to report strong performance including 196 consecutive weeks of market outperformance as determined by the industry’s Peach tracker and regularly tops the BrandVue monthly index for customer satisfaction.
In the last year wagamama also launched a vegan menu featuring 29 plant based dishes, opened an innovation test kitchen in Soho called ‘noodle lab’ and has pledged to remove all plastic straws and replace them with bio-degradable paper straws by Earth Day on 22nd April 2018.
16 Feb 2018
Duke Street investment Voyage Care is delighted to have been named as a finalist in not one, but two categories for the 2018 HealthInvestor awards.
Reaching the finals in the Specialist Provider and Community Based Support categories is recognition of the huge strides Voyage has taken in recent years to enhance its specialist provision and transform the way it delivers community based care and support services.
The prestigious HealthInvestor awards recognise excellence in the delivery of social care. Voyage was the winner in the Specialist Provider category in 2016 and a finalist in 2017.
This year’s winners will be announced on 13 June.
12 Jan 2018
Duke Street, the midmarket private equity group, has sold its controlling investment in Baywater Healthcare UK to Bastide Group, a specialist in the sale and rental of home medical equipment in France. The undisclosed consideration makes a total cash return of more than 5x cost for Duke Street and its co-investor, Souter Investments with the potential for further returns from an earnout based on future performance. The firm sold Baywater’s Irish operations to Air Liquide in August 2015.
Baywater delivers oxygen-therapy, sleep apnoea therapy and non-invasive ventilation therapy services to patients in the home. It is the only independent company serving the UK market, alongside three major gas group subsidiaries. The business was acquired by Duke Street in November 2013 as part of Air Products’ Homecare operations in the UK and Ireland. The transaction was Duke Street’s second deal-by-deal financing.
The business currently employs 230 people and provides support to 26,000 patients. The sale to Bastide Group has been approved by the National Health Service.
Commenting on the sale, Charlie Troup, Managing Partner at Duke Street, said:
"Baywater has been a classic Duke Street investment in healthcare, a core sector for the firm. With the dual trends of an ageing population and an increasing need for the NHS to manage costs by providing patients with care at home, we have worked successfully with management to raise the quality of care, improve logistics, invest in stronger operational and logistics capabilities, thereby delivering significant growth in profitability. We wish Bastide Group every success with Baywater’s next phase of growth.”
Adam Sullivan CEO of Baywater commented:
“The four years we have spent with Duke Street and Souter have been exciting and rewarding – they have been demanding while constructive and supportive. I and my team are proud of the business we have built together - the strength of which has been recognised by Bastide.”
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