NorthEdge Capital, the private equity firm focused on backing businesses based in the North of England, has completed its maiden deal after investing for a significant majority stake in FPE Global, a high-growth specialist engineering firm with an international customer base.
The deal is the first investment by Manchester and Leeds-based NorthEdge, which has £182million currently under management. The firm’s maiden fund achieved first close in summer 2012.
Stockport-based FPE Global develops bespoke materials-handling processing systems with proven applications in a range of high-growth end markets including sugar, cement, chemicals and energy from waste.
The business has developed a market-leading reputation for providing value-added engineering solutions to a blue-chip client base both in the UK and internationally. Rapid growth has been driven by increasing levels of export sales, in particular to Africa, South America and India.
The transaction will provide the funding to accelerate FPE Global’s expansion through increased focus on sales and marketing alongside investment in infrastructure to support the planned growth.
NorthEdge will offer experienced support to FPE Global’s board. Ray Stenton and Phil Frame of NorthEdge have been appointed as non-executive directors, Andrew Jackson will join as finance director and experienced entrepreneur Stuart Lees becomes non-executive chairman.
NorthEdge partner Ray Stenton, who led the investment, said: “FPE Global is a perfect example of a UK business with an international focus that uses in-house engineering expertise to develop bespoke solutions which add tangible value to clients. The company has built an impressive client base with high levels of repeat orders driving growth.
“We believe there is a huge amount of potential in the business as it capitalises on its international growth opportunities. We are excited about working closely with an ambitious management team and using this investment to accelerate expansion.”
NorthEdge managing partner Grant Berry said: “We are delighted to complete the first NorthEdge deal. We believe now is a fantastic time to invest in the region. FPE Global is a fast-growing, locally-based business that is international in outlook, and we look forward to working closely with the management team.
“As an investor we believe that we have something different to offer. We are a highly experienced team that is passionate about the North of England and the businesses here. Our investment decisions are made locally and our focus is on growing Northern businesses.”
Chris Bailey, managing director at FPE Global, said: “The NorthEdge team bring with them a straight-talking approach and a great deal of expertise in growing businesses. They share our values and this investment demonstrates the potential in FPE Global. The deal positions us perfectly to capitalise on the huge opportunities available in the market. This is a really exciting time for everyone involved with the company.”
International investment bank Altium advised NorthEdge on the deal.
Grant Thornton provided financial due diligence, PMSI provided commercial due diligence and tax structuring work was carried out by PwC.
A team at Addleshaw Goddard, comprising Neal Shepherd, Darren Harris and Gareth Dray, provided legal advice. Paul Jefferson at Gateley advised the management of FPE Global. David Easdown at George Davies Solicitors provided legal advice to the vendor.